In a small Castilian village in 1940, in the wake of the country’s devastating civil war, six-year-old Ana attends a traveling movie show of Frankenstein and becomes possessed by the memory of it. A bewitching portrait of a child’s haunted inner life.
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This is a film about the imagination of childhood that has no idea yet whether the world is ordinary or extraordinary, the powerlessness of the child in the grip of tentative imaginings created out of fear and fascination and role of art in our lives. The Spirit of the Beehive is poignant but never over-sentimental, and it's visually gorgeous. Pick any 24th of a second, frame it and you could hang it on a museum wall
Few directors are truly able to capture the innocence of childhood; the suggestability, the naivete; the openess to environment and perceived believe in stories and fantasies. Erice certainly captures all of that and more in this classic film. Ana Torrent is perfect as the young girl as is the script which captures its post civil war backdrop, characters and undertones so masterfully. Enchantingly beautifully shot.
One of the great films. It's amazing that some wonderful Spanish films were not censored under Franco - films which did not directly criticize Franco, the government or the Church. This is one of those films but the oppressive environment and and depression of the family & main characters is palpable.
I would have loved to rate 5* this movie as most of my MUBI friends did. But if I want to be honest with myself, I can't. I liked a lot Ana Torrent (who wouldn't ?) but that's about all, Already forgotten..
Fantastic. Guillermo del Toro probably wouldn't exist if it weren't for this film (horror and monster movies notwithstanding). Excellent portrayal of the real-world horror behind horror stories, the power of the imagination, and the joys (and woes) of being a child. Superb acting on the part of the children. Great Bresson-style pacing, and excellent color photography. Not to be missed.
The movie brims with a sense of innocence and wonder for those moments and feelings we all eventually have to come across but not always wish to do so, the evocations of childhood memories achieved here are as striking as no other movie I've experienced before. Beautiful film.