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The Spirit of the Beehive, 1973

by Kim Packard
The Spirit of the Beehive, 1973 by Kim Packard
Wkipedia- Spirit of the Beehive Wikipedia- Beehive Cinergia Movie File by Sophia A. McClennen, Associate Professor Pennsylvania State University ‘Les Enfants et les Cinéphiles’ The Moment of Epiphany in The Spirit of the Beehive by Chris Darke Velazquez and the Cinema BFI Interview with Victor Erice (September 2003) Q: What is “the spirit” of the beehive? What does it represent? A1: the stagnation of life A2: the monster (created by Man, destroyed by Man) Francisco Franco’s Frankenstein? A3: industry, cooperation A4 (my guess): imagination and creativity (repressed in this narrative) that leads to individuation/identity (“soy… Read more

Wkipedia- Spirit of the Beehive

Wikipedia- Beehive

Cinergia Movie File
by Sophia A. McClennen, Associate Professor Pennsylvania State University

‘Les Enfants et les Cinéphiles’ The Moment of Epiphany in The Spirit of the Beehive by Chris Darke

Velazquez and the Cinema

BFI Interview with Victor Erice (September 2003)

Q: What is “the spirit” of the beehive? What does it represent?

A1: the stagnation of life
A2: the monster (created by Man, destroyed by Man) Francisco Franco’s Frankenstein?
A3: industry, cooperation
A4 (my guess): imagination and creativity (repressed in this narrative) that leads to individuation/identity (“soy Ana”)
A5: the beehive is a totalitarian society and the bees are not individuals BBC 1973 programme-The Ascent of Man- Generation Upon Generation (36:58- 38:38)

The Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlincke, 1901
Restlessness seizes the people, and the old queen begins to stir. She feels that a new destiny is being prepared. She has religiously fulfilled her duty as a good creatress; and from this duty done there result only tribulation and sorrow. An invincible power menaces her tranquillity; she will soon be forced to quit this city of hers, where she has reigned. But this city is her work, it is she, herself. She is not its queen in the sense in which men use the word. She issues no orders; she obeys, as meekly as the humblest of her subjects, the masked power, sovereignly wise, that for the present, and till we attempt to locate it, we will term the “spirit of the hive.” But she is the unique organ of love; she is the mother of the city. She founded it amid uncertainty and poverty. She has peopled it with her own substance; and all who move within its walls—workers, males, larvæ, nymphs, and the young princesses whose approaching birth will hasten her own departure, one of them being already designed as her successor by the “spirit of the hive”—all these have issued from her flanks. What is this “spirit of the hive”—where does it reside? It is not like the special instinct that teaches the bird to construct its well planned nest, and then seek other skies when the day for migration returns. Nor is it a kind of mechanical habit of the race, or blind craving for life, that will fling the bees upon any wild hazard the moment an unforeseen event shall derange the accustomed order of phenomena. On the contrary, be the event never so masterful, the “spirit of the hive” still will follow it, step by step, like an alert and quick-witted slave, who is able to derive advantage even from his master’s most dangerous orders.


Brain cells and nerve cells


Doves and Serpents- Andy’s post
“Someone to whom I recently showed my glass beehive,
with it’s movement like the main gear wheel of a clock-
Someone who saw the constant agitation of the honeycomb,
the mysterious, maddened commotion of the nurse bees over the nests,
the teeming bridges and stairways of wax, the invading spirals of the queen,
the endlessly varied and repetitive labors of the swarm,
the relentless yet ineffectual toil, the fevered comings and goings,
the call to sleep always ignored, undermining the next days work,
the final repose of death
far from a place that tolerates neither sickness nor tombs-
Someone who observed these things, after the initial astonishment had passed,
quickly looked away with an expression of indescribable sadness and horror.”

Bibliography (MLA ):

Deleyto, Celestino. ‘Women and Other Monsters: Frankenstein andthe Role of the Mother in El espíritu de la colmena’. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies. 76 (1999): 39-51. Print. First page preview

Deveny, Thomas G. Cain on Screen: Contemporary Spanish Cinema. Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, 1993. Print.

“As Teresa lies awake, we see the shadow of Fernando projected onto the wall behind the bed as he undresses connotating a lack of substance inthe husband, and further relating him to the monster, since Isabel had told Ana that he was a spirit with no body.” (p.126)

Higgenbotham V. Spanish Cinema Under Franco. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988. Print.

“By referring to the horror myth of Frankenstein, Erice has discovered an uncannily accurate metaphor for Franco’s Spain. As a character without a memory, Frankenstein has no moral sense and, thus can behave kindly, then kill. As a mythical figure himself Frankenstein aptly represents the endresult of the Franco Myth.” (p.120)

Hopewell, J. Out of the past: Spanish Cinema after Franco. London: BFI, 1986. Print.
Ana’s fascination with Frankenstein’s monster… “a part ofthe collective desire for resurrection that seeps into Spanish culturein the 1940s” (p. 122)

Jordan, B. and Allinson, M. Spanish Cinema: A students Guide. London: Hodder, 2005. Print.

Kinder, M. Blood Cinema: The reconstruction of national identity in Spain, Berkley: University of California Press, 1993. Print.

“It demonstrates that under the pressures of a war that divided thenation, the family, and the individual, an entire generation of impressionable children felt a mixture of love and fear for repressive patriarchs – a combination that generated distorted fantasies of heroic allegiance and rebellious patricide and that had led them to identify with both the victim and the monster.” (p.128)

“The strongestgerminal images in the film are not Ana’s visions of the monster butthe close shots of the beehive and the desolate long shots of thelandscapes, night skies, train tracks and village exteriors. Whentreated with painterly compositions, long takes, and the brilliantelliptical editing rhythms of Spain’s foremost film editor…these imagesof ordinary objects become detached from the spare narrative line andachieve a powerful resonance – a resonance whose aestheticism goesbeyond the boundaries of neorealism.” (p.130)

“These resonant images seldom answerthe narrative questions that define the singularity of the plot. Ratherthey redirect our attention to the cultural background – to theassociative links and mnemonic traces of a personality immersed in thepainful events from the past and to the iterative traces of collectivehistory and dominant ideology.” (p. 133)

Martín-Marquez, Susan. Monstrous Identity: Female Socializationin El Espíritu de la colmena’, New Orleans Review 19/2 (1992): 52-58. Print.

Ros, Xon de. ‘Inocence Lost: Sound and Silence in El espíritu de la colmena’, in Sound on Vision: Studies on Spanish Cinema, ed. Robin Fiddian and Ian Michael, Special Issue Bulletin of Spanish Studies, lxxxiv, 1 (Glasgow: BHS, 1999): 27-37. Print.

Stone, R. Spanish Cinema. London: Longman, 2001. Print.
Using original interview material with Spanish Cinema luminaries such as Carlos Saura, Julio Medem, Imanol Uribe and Elías Querejeta, Rob Stone charts a history of Spanish Cinema throughout the turbulent Francoist years and beyond.


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