Thursday, December 17, 2009
#351: The Spirit of the Beehive
Funny how one moody, reflective film about childhood can feel so personal and moving, while another moody, reflective film like The Spirit of the Beehive can feel so distant and dull. This movie, considered one of the great Spanish films of the 70s, did not connect with me. I found the pacing dull rather than meditative, and I didn't care about the characters, who seemed totally separate from each other and devoid of genuine emotion. Ana's attraction to Frankenstein played a smaller role than I had hoped, and ultimately failed to generate more interest.
The funny thing is, the film is set in 1940, right after the Spanish civil war that brought Franco to power. This is also around the same time one of my favorite movies of this decade was set, Guillermo Del Toro's The Devil's Backbone. That film also dealt with the afterlife, albeit in a much more literal way, since the film is essentially a ghost story. Erice's film, on the other hand, is more metaphoric. It's successful in its goals, and it's a beautiful, well-made movie. But there are too many dead-ends and empty moments of promise for me to feel a connection to the material. Perhaps another day I would love this movie. Today, it feels like someone else's favorite film.