I absolutely loved this. A wonderful representation of childhood innocence and wonder when faced with the 'serious' concerns of the adult world. There is the backdrop of Franco's Spain and the cracks left by the civil war but mostly this is not explicit. From a visual perspective it was stunning, and combined with an excellent soundtrack this only adds to the poetic and dreamlike nature of the film.
An exploration of the Frankenstein story as political allegory in post-civil war Spain. Also as commentary on the father-daughter relationship. And beehives, representing both country & family... All of which, for all implied complexity, are neither woven into anything resembling coherence, nor individually treated with more than hints at depth. Maybe due to Franco's censorship regime...? Still, mostly underwhelming.
Yes, this film is about coping with war, it's about the power of childhood imagination....I also found it to be a tender ode to the love of the cinema. That moment when Ana's reflection turns into Frankenstein's in the water and she turns around to see him in standing their in the flesh is just chilling.
I'd been anticipating this film for some time, having it play into so many of my favourite traits in cinema, coming-of-age, dark fantasy, art-house slow and a visual eye for beauty, yet I was a bit held back from being fully won. I had difficulty connecting to the slow direction of the film, which usually is no problem. I need to revisit.
There's masterpieces then there's masterpieces...this film is truly up there in the category of greatest films ever made. Torrents' face haunts me every time. Each frame is glowing with beauty. Erice's approach to every element of the film is so direct. Everything about it leaves you feeling haunted, nostalgic, melancholy and warm.