THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE (1973) C widescreen 98m dir: Victor Erice
w/Ana Torrent, Isabel Telleria, Fernando Fernan Gomez, Teresa Gimpera, Jose Villasante, Lally Soldavilla, Juan Margallo, Miguel Picazo
From The Movie Guide: "A haunting, atmospheric film that focuses on a young girl's obsession with the Frankenstein monster. Ana (the stunning Ana Torrent), a charming eight-year-old, lives in a Castilian village in 1940, just after the end of the Spanish Civil War. Although the village has been spared the destruction of battle, the after-effects of war are still felt, and the villagers buckle under Francoist repression. Ana's mother (Teresa Gimpera) shares a dream world with an imaginary lover; her father (Fernando Fernan Gomez) tends a beehive and ponders existence in an ongoing work he calls 'The Spirit of the Beehive.' After watching the 1931 James Whale-Boris Karloff version of FRANKENSTEIN, Ana begins to worry about the monster, and returns daily to the old house where her 10-year-old sister (Isabel Telleria) says he can be found. Eventually, an escaped convict becomes a surrogate for the monster, but though he is killed, Ana continues to cling to the idea that the monster's spirit exists, holding on to the power of imagination. Slow-moving but lyrical, Victor Erice's stunning feature-film directorial debut carefully re-creates the post-Civil War period, but much more is at work here than appears at first glance. SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE is a thought-provoking, highly symbolic work about the isolation engendered by Franco's stultifying reign, made by one of a generation of Spanish filmmakers forced to cloak their political messages in allegory."