“The Spirit of the Beehive” – Víctor Erice (1973)

Spirit of the Hive (Spirit of the hive, 1973) is a Spanish drama with a poignant taste that distinguishes it from all other films. It is a matter of thought, in especially the rich, fertile written ideas that many children were given. This advanced video was the first directing operation Victor Eric, who, unfortunately, just directed another fiction film (In the south, 1983). Based on the cinema art shown here Spirit of the Hive, Erice had to have a long and extensive career in filmmaking.

More about how the film is made is excellent, featuring an interesting story written by Erice and Ángel Fernández Santos, a film by Luis Cuadrado, a dramatic adaptation of Pablo González del Amo, and Luis de Pablo. In particular, there are a lot of symbolic images, such as the relief that comes with showing off trains running fast in the countryside (a picture often provided by top filmmakers), which makes the film look like poetry. The result was a film whose reputation has been steadily growing over the years [1,2,3,4,5] and now many consider it the largest Spanish film ever made [2].

The story of Spirit of the Hive was founded in 1940, shortly after the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), in the small town of Huelos in the Spanish Castilian Castle. By 1940 the victors in the civil war, the right-wing forces under Francisco Franco and backed by the German Nazis, after overthrowing the progressive Republican government, were in full swing. Franco will remain in power until 1975, therefore Spirit of the Hive was formed while Spain was still under Francoist rule. Although the Spanish Civil War provides the political and cultural basis for any of the events in the film, I still do not believe that the role should be emphasized. It’s the only thing that makes the minds of the two adult characters in the film stand out.

The film’s plot revolves around a family of four children living in a dilapidated house in Huelos:

  • Fernando (played by Fernando Fernán Gómez, the only talented actor in the film) is a apparently 50-year-old gentleman who is an academic. He spends most of his time studying and writing about bees, and he has his own apiary to do this.
  • Teresa (Teresa Gimpera) is the youngest Fernando (thirty) and the most beautiful woman. She spends most of her free time (having a full-time maid) longing and writing love letters to her absent loved one, a former Republican soldier and now a potential refugee.
  • Ana (Ana Torrent) is the shy daughter of Fernando and six-year-old Teresa. He is the main character in the story.
  • Isabella (Isabel Tellería) and her older sister Ana one or two years old. Isabel is a good-natured but aggressive girl who tends to cheat on her younger sister, Ana, who is innocent and innocent.

All four of these people live far away from each other, so they have dreamed dreams to capture their imagination.

  • Fernando is intrigued by the idea of ​​his bees and how the constant swarming of worker bees seems so trivial. They can encourage these bees to become more confused without them obviously knowing. And they consider this to be an illustration of the futility of life, including the existence of a human being.
  • Teresa lives in her dream world of lost love. She is not in a relationship with her husband, Fernando, and she loves the world of her dreams more than the real world ahead of her.
  • Isabel imitates the dreams of stupid games she loves to play with her classmates and the false stories she tells to Ana.
  • Children’s dream world, which is the main purpose of the film, is that, as I talk more and more, unlike others, because they do not see it as a dream world. He sees it as an opportunity to have a real, meaningful relationship with someone who is looking for him and can enrich his life.

Spirit of the Hive The story goes through about three stages.

1. Family Dreams

In 1940 a group of tourists came to Huelos to set up their project in a town hall and show the film. Frankenstein (1931) to the local people. All the children, including Isabel and Ana, are thrilled to see the film and flock to the theater. Meanwhile, Fernando is shown drowning to go to his bees. And his wife, Teresa, is shown at home writing a love letter to her distant lover, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Looking Frankenstein, Children are fascinated by the scene in which the Frankenstein Beast makes a friend of a Ana girl and even drowned by accident. Later that night, while Ana and Isabel are in their bedroom, Ana wants her sister to explain to her why the Beast killed the girl and why the villagers killed the Beast. Isabel, who is happy to fool her silly little sister, tells him that the Beast was not killed and saw him living in a farmhouse left nearby. He also told Ana that the beast was a spirit and could not be killed. He also said that the Beast only comes out at night, but if you are his friend, you can talk to him at any time – just say “I am, Children”.

The children completely follow Isabel’s story and are fascinated by finding this spirit to be her friend. Apparently the innocent Ana is bewitched by the love affair between the girl and the Beast she saw in the film, and she wants to find the ghost and be her friend.

2. Children and Isabel

In the next section we see the big differences between Ana and Isabel. Although Ana is innocent and shy, Isabel is a devil. And the film masterfully illustrates their unique qualities by using natural processes. In particular, the natural wonder of Children on earth is reflected in her observation.

One of the most important issues for children, which they always think about, is the topic of death. Adults, including Fernando and Teresa in the film, consider death to be a complex and profound issue for children to ponder, but they are wrong. Children are as traumatized and overwhelmed by death as adults are, and I remember as a child I often thought and wondered about death and its meaning. Of course Ana and Isabel are no different, and, of course, watching a movie Frankenstein they just kindled a fire of curiosity.

To further explain his story of the beast to Ana, Isabel took her sister to an abandoned farmhouse that she had mentioned to look after the Beast. Yes, they do not find anything, but the Children believe that the Beast / Spirit must be present at night. So after several times he would sneak out of his house at night to visit the farmhouse to see if he could find the Beast.

There are also death-related incidents in the region. One shows Fernando taking his daughters out into the woods to warn them of the dangers of bucks. The notion that a seemingly innocent leaf can have such a negative effect on Ana’s mind.

In another scene, Isabel is seen choking on a family cat in an attempt to kill her to see her plot to kill her partner. What is even more disturbing is the incident in which Isabel positively pretends to be dead in front of Ana. Ana’s efforts to revive her sister were in vain, and she is deeply disappointed.

So for Isabel, life is a game. But for Children, life is a mystery.

3. The Beast / Spirit Appears

Later we see the Spanish Republican fighter fleeing Francoist officials. He jumped onto a speeding train, suffered a concussion, and was able to shudder at the thought of being left behind. in a farmhouse, where they look for a temporary place to hide. That night Ana was walking at midnight on the abandoned farm and met a Republican fighter, who took her as an example of the Beast / Ghost she wanted. The children are quick to help their new spiritual friend, as they care for his injured leg and bring him food and his father’s coat.

But when Ana left, Francoist police came to the farmhouse and shot her with a Republican freedom fighter until her death. Since police found Fernando’s shirt and wallet in the pockets of the murderer, they suspect Fernando. And Fernando suspects that Ana stole his shirt.

The next time Ana went to the farmhouse to look for her special spiritual friend, she was afraid to find only drops of blood. When her suspicious father followed her and invited her to come to him, the frightened girl ran into the field and appeared.

A major village search operation is underway that monitors the children overnight, and they are finally found the next day, unaware. Although Ana was not harmed, she is now unable to talk, or seems to be doing so. He just tries to communicate now and when he is alone at night and goes to the window and shouts, “I am, Children”.

So Ana, like her mother and father, eventually isolated herself and lived in a dream world. But all their dreams are different. Fernando’s dream world is one of the only scientific studies to uncover the realities of a carefree universe. She is frustrated by her hopeless thoughts about the stupidity of life. Teresa’s lonely world is one of hopeless and hopeless love for a loved one who may no longer exist. Children’s dream world, however, is mysterious and unselfish. He wants to reach out and engage in magical, spiritual activities name, whose opportunities to connect with them seem exciting and limitless.

And if we stop thinking about it, most of us, at least unknowingly, in the same shoes. As we search for God, we look forward to finding a deeper relationship with the higher spirit organization – support tool interaction, not merely to reach some level of integrity. We Cognitively we feel that life naturally involves flexibility, not stasis, and, like Children, we look forward to the wonderful opportunities for interaction that may exist out there.

Spirit of the Hive beautifully exploring the place is probably the only way possible – through the eyes of an obedient, innocent child.



  1. Nicolas Rapold, “The Depth of the Child’s Sight”, New York Sun, (27 January 2006).
  2. Paul Julian Smith, “The Spirit of the Hive: Lessons in Spanish”, The Criterion Collection, (18 September 2006).
  3. Bill Gibron, “Perfect Past: Ancient Records – The Spirit of the Bee (1973)”, PopMatters images, (November 28, 2006).
  4. Roger Ebert, “Everything in the movies is a lie”, Best Movies, RogerEbert.com, (November 20, 2012).
  5. Acquarello, “The Spirit of the Bee, 1973”, Strictly Film School, (24 December 2017; 8 January 2018).

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