The Spirit of the Beehive is a one of a kind masterwork, lighting in a bottle. Not only does it rival any filmic work that touches upon the subject of childhood, the film also makes way for an unexpectedly powerful political message about not just the era it depicts but society as a whole. A transcendent work of art and I can see why some would call this Spain's best film as it really might be.
We often think of good and evil as the stuff of children's stories and the adult world as being morally gray. However, social politics, especially during wartime, enforces rules of right and wrong that perhaps only children can see past. Stinging bees makes honey. Hunted monsters befriend children. Like Frankenstein's monster's floating flowers, we find ephemeral wonders in life that we hope can distract us from fear
Striking in its visuals, every frame looks like a classic painting... but it's also too self-satisfied in its aesthetic. It mulls over its photogenic beauty without elongating story elements that are aloof at best. The plot even takes an hour+ for the unfocused real-world conflict to begin leading to a resolution. Put it on mute in the background when you write/paint/etc and glance up for visual inspiration. Repeat.
“Now neither malice no hatred, nor even the fear of change. I only feel thirst, a thirst for I know not what. Rivers of life, where have you gone?.... Air, I need air. What do you see in the darkness that makes you silently tremble?... I see not but only stare like a blind man facing straight into the sun. I shall fall where the fallen never rise"
Themes emerge...the all too soon discarded sense of/wallow in wonder to take your (often almost) predestined place in society and the friction caused by said lining up...the running metaphor here is simple but poignant, the imaging is fantastico, the acting (even by the preteen children) is sublime, and the meta (gotta get a thesaurus) use of the Frankenstein movie fits like a glove... essential viewing,
One of the very best films about childhood innocence and contemplation, and what child to do it better than the brooding Anna Torrent. The story follows two little sisters that go to the screening of Frankenstein, which leaves a lasting impact on the sensitive youngest one. The spirit of a haunted child overtakes the rest of the film expressing profoundly with its silence.
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.