Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Spirit of the Beehive (El espíritu de la colmena) (1973)

Director: Víctor Erice. Cast: Ana Torrent, Isabel Tellería, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Teresa Gimpera. 95 min. Unrated. Spain. Drama/Fantasy.

An innocent little girl in a 1940s Spanish village is traumatized by watching James Whale's Frankenstein in their small local theater, and uses her imagination and her few-year-older sister's ambiguous explanations to alleviate the horror. This has been called a metaphor for Franco's dictatorship, and some believe it to be Spain's greatest movie ever. I don't know about that. But strangely, the simple beautiful cinematography almost perfectly brought my own childhood expeditions with my few-year-older brother in Iran back to life. Considering the distance between the two countries, that should give an idea how strong the visuals are.

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