Spirit of the Beehive

Marilyn and I watched this masterpiece Spanish film directed by Victor Erice this weekend. Cinematography and lighting are reminiscent of a Vermeer painting. Editing and storyline kept me mesmerized. The film is rife with political, religious, and psychological symbolism, and warrants in-depth discussion. Would be a great pick for the film club to view and discuss sometime.



4 thoughts on “Spirit of the Beehive

  1. Ron: SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE (1973) looks like a fascinating film. It is out there for sale only at premium prices, released by Criterion. Although one can still get it cheaply on VHS. It is not a film I had ever heard of, and yet it seems to be one of the most powerful Spanish films ever made, and in the top 10 list for the 1970’s. I am not even familiar with the director, Victor Erice. What other films has he directed? I will throw this movie into the hat for the next Producer’s Meeting. If accepted, it certainly does look like a classic, worthy of viewing and discussion. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  2. Glenn,
    I was not familiar with this film either until I read a short description about it in a recent issue of the New Yorker magazine. The comments in the magazine were with reference to the release of the Criterion DVD. This is not a film that one would fully appreciate on VHS, or even on DVD on a small screen. Erice has only done a small number of films, and Spirit of the Beehive is the only one available on netflix — I will have to check at Stadium Video the next time I am in there to see if they have any others.

    One of the joys of netflix is that every time I hear or read of some film that sounds interesting, I add it to my list, so I am constantly seeing really good (or at least highly recommended films). The other fun aspect of choosing films this way is that my queue is typically 30 to 50 films long, so there is often a fairly long delay between when I add a new film to my list and when it arrives in the mail for viewing. It is often the case that by the time a film shows up in my mailbox, I have forgotten why I had ordered it. Such was the case with Spirit of the Beehive. This movie caused somewhat of a whiplash reaction when I watched it because I had been on a “kick” for the past couple weeks watching 1940’s “screwball” movies with Cary Grant (also prompted by a recent New Yorker piece about Cary Grant’s early history in vaudeville and its translation into “physical comedy” routines in his early films.) When I received the DVD of Spirit of the Beehive in the mail, I slipped it into the DVD player and hit play, not having any recollection of why I had chosen this title. All I can say about my own reaction is that I am confident that any serious cineaste, even with no prior knowledge of what the film is about or its history, will know intuitively within the first 5 to 10 minutes that this is an important film. By the time the viewer gets to the 1931 Frankenstein “film within a film” scenes, there will be no doubt at all that one is watching a cinematic masterpiece.

  3. Man, I have bit the bullet and forked over $30.00 to get the Criterion Collection DVD of this film. It just sounds too tasty to overlook. I am beginning to trust your judgement on films. God help me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s