Spirit of the Beehive

Ana Torrent is "Ana" in 1973's "Spirit of the Beehive."

Ana Torrent is “Ana” in 1973’s “Spirit of the Beehive.”

After years of wanting to re-watch the Spanish film “Spirit of the Beehive,” I finally received my very own used copy of it in the mail Friday.

I immediately re-watched it, and it remains one of the most beautiful, otherworldly films I’ve ever seen. It is considered to be among the greatest of Spanish films. It’s a wonder to watch its poetic images unfold, and it is impossible not to become enraptured by the sweet innocence of Ana, the main character.

The late Roger Ebert reviewed the film last year as part of his “Great Movies” series:

This is one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen. Its cinematographer, Luis Cuadrado, bathes his frame in sun and earth tones, and in the interiors of the family home, he creates vistas of empty rooms where footsteps echo. The house doesn’t seem much occupied by the family. The girls are often alone. The parents also, in separate rooms. Many of the father’s poems involve the mindless churning activity of his beehives, and the house’s yellow-tinted honeycomb windows make an unmistakable reference to beehives. Presumably this reflects on the Franco regime, but when critics grow specific in spelling out the parallels they see, I feel like I’m reading term papers.

The Wikipedia entry on the film is also enlightening should you want to learn more about it.


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