The Spirit of the Beehive (El Espíritu de la colmena) Reviews

  • Apr 04, 2019

    Lenta, aburrida y pretenciosa.

    Lenta, aburrida y pretenciosa.

  • Antonius B Super Reviewer
    Dec 09, 2018

    So what is meant by the spirit of the beehive, the title of this movie, and the impressionist painting we get from it? Itâ(TM)s a world where bees viewed in their hive through glass move in angry, chaotic directions. Itâ(TM)s an absolutely desolate landscape. A joyless marriage. A forest where if youâ(TM)re not careful, you might pick a deadly mushroom. A sister with a sadistic side, who enjoys playing little tricks on you, and chokes the cat. A world where, like the 1931 movie Frankenstein, a girl may put herself in danger through her innocence, and trust in someone who may turn out to be a monster. How does life carry on under a dictator, in the period following a bitter civil war? Life that is spiritually barren, without joy, and dangerous; one where we see the worst side of humanity and its monsters. There is such an aridity about this film, a sterility akin to those parched fields or the drones in the hive. And yet life continues on in the wide-eyed wonder, imagination, and curiosity of children. Ana Torrent and Isabel Telleria are wonderful as the girls, and the scene that director Victor Erice captures of the young and old watching the movie during its tense moments is fantastic. The cinematography is good but I didnâ(TM)t find it quite as legendary as others. My main criticism, though, is in pacing; the film is simply too slow for events which are mostly mundane. A part of that is in keeping with the creation of an overall feeling though, and I love the spirit of this film.

    So what is meant by the spirit of the beehive, the title of this movie, and the impressionist painting we get from it? Itâ(TM)s a world where bees viewed in their hive through glass move in angry, chaotic directions. Itâ(TM)s an absolutely desolate landscape. A joyless marriage. A forest where if youâ(TM)re not careful, you might pick a deadly mushroom. A sister with a sadistic side, who enjoys playing little tricks on you, and chokes the cat. A world where, like the 1931 movie Frankenstein, a girl may put herself in danger through her innocence, and trust in someone who may turn out to be a monster. How does life carry on under a dictator, in the period following a bitter civil war? Life that is spiritually barren, without joy, and dangerous; one where we see the worst side of humanity and its monsters. There is such an aridity about this film, a sterility akin to those parched fields or the drones in the hive. And yet life continues on in the wide-eyed wonder, imagination, and curiosity of children. Ana Torrent and Isabel Telleria are wonderful as the girls, and the scene that director Victor Erice captures of the young and old watching the movie during its tense moments is fantastic. The cinematography is good but I didnâ(TM)t find it quite as legendary as others. My main criticism, though, is in pacing; the film is simply too slow for events which are mostly mundane. A part of that is in keeping with the creation of an overall feeling though, and I love the spirit of this film.

  • Mar 26, 2018

    Enigmatic and mesmerizing, it wonderfully depicts childhood's experiences and mysteries which the world is abound with at that period of life. Ultimately it transcends its simple story into a poetic deliberation upon what we adults have long forgotten.

    Enigmatic and mesmerizing, it wonderfully depicts childhood's experiences and mysteries which the world is abound with at that period of life. Ultimately it transcends its simple story into a poetic deliberation upon what we adults have long forgotten.

  • Jan 25, 2018

    It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a movie and genuinely felt like I missed something. The Spirit of the Beehive is a film with a very simple plot because not much happens. But I sense there’s a point to some of the things going on that means more. I didn’t feel like looking into it more, though, because I was honestly too bored by the movie to care. It’s shot well, and has a couple of very good child actors, but I lost interest before it was even halfway done. The Spirit of the Beehive feels like one of those reports I would write in school when the teacher required a certain number of pages, so I’d double-space and write bigger than usual, anything to fill space. In this movie it’s not enough for people to be in a place, we must see them arrive, and it doesn’t matter if we’ve seen them walk up to this same farmhouse five times already, we need to see it a sixth time too. There’s so much of this filler that I think this could have been a short film. The other reason that I was a bit bored by The Spirit of the Beehive was the lack of dialogue. There is so much silence in the movie that I kept wondering if the sound stopped working on my TV. All of that being said, there were moments that worked in this film. I appreciated the journey of the little girl and how she found this connection with the character of Frankenstein. But the end was odd, and I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel about it. Clearly this wasn’t a movie for me, but I appreciate that it was well-made, and some people will love it.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a movie and genuinely felt like I missed something. The Spirit of the Beehive is a film with a very simple plot because not much happens. But I sense there’s a point to some of the things going on that means more. I didn’t feel like looking into it more, though, because I was honestly too bored by the movie to care. It’s shot well, and has a couple of very good child actors, but I lost interest before it was even halfway done. The Spirit of the Beehive feels like one of those reports I would write in school when the teacher required a certain number of pages, so I’d double-space and write bigger than usual, anything to fill space. In this movie it’s not enough for people to be in a place, we must see them arrive, and it doesn’t matter if we’ve seen them walk up to this same farmhouse five times already, we need to see it a sixth time too. There’s so much of this filler that I think this could have been a short film. The other reason that I was a bit bored by The Spirit of the Beehive was the lack of dialogue. There is so much silence in the movie that I kept wondering if the sound stopped working on my TV. All of that being said, there were moments that worked in this film. I appreciated the journey of the little girl and how she found this connection with the character of Frankenstein. But the end was odd, and I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel about it. Clearly this wasn’t a movie for me, but I appreciate that it was well-made, and some people will love it.

  • Jan 19, 2018

    A sublime, wondrous movie that is at the same time heart wrenchingly sad

    A sublime, wondrous movie that is at the same time heart wrenchingly sad

  • Oct 05, 2017

    This film felt like it was saying more than I picked up. The main story is a post civil war Spain and we are focused on the little girl who is caught between her perception of monsters (ala Frankenstein’s monster) and the actual adult world. This movie was fully engrossing and I loved all the beehive symbolism, in particular the windows tiled with hexagons. I don’t think I fully understood the mother’s story (was she cheating on her husband or daydreaming of that or what?). A lovely film worth watching. The child actors in the film are great. It made me want to start a colony of bees...my wife has shot me down on that idea several times.

    This film felt like it was saying more than I picked up. The main story is a post civil war Spain and we are focused on the little girl who is caught between her perception of monsters (ala Frankenstein’s monster) and the actual adult world. This movie was fully engrossing and I loved all the beehive symbolism, in particular the windows tiled with hexagons. I don’t think I fully understood the mother’s story (was she cheating on her husband or daydreaming of that or what?). A lovely film worth watching. The child actors in the film are great. It made me want to start a colony of bees...my wife has shot me down on that idea several times.

  • Jul 03, 2017

    While I didn't understand any of the anti-Franco hidden messages in the movie (apparently it's full of them), I did find the scenery and atmosphere amazing. The child reminded me of Curious George--getting into trouble with adults because she's too simple to understand their rules. It is simultaneously dark and innocent, and also relateable.

    While I didn't understand any of the anti-Franco hidden messages in the movie (apparently it's full of them), I did find the scenery and atmosphere amazing. The child reminded me of Curious George--getting into trouble with adults because she's too simple to understand their rules. It is simultaneously dark and innocent, and also relateable.

  • Jun 06, 2017

    Very atmospheric and haunting movie but tells a great story. Watching this movie makes me think that the movie, The Others, was heavily inspired by this movie. The scene where the girls put their heads against the train tracks also seems like it inspired the scene in Inception.

    Very atmospheric and haunting movie but tells a great story. Watching this movie makes me think that the movie, The Others, was heavily inspired by this movie. The scene where the girls put their heads against the train tracks also seems like it inspired the scene in Inception.

  • Mar 21, 2017

    This film is considered by many to be a Spanish masterpiece. It is beautifully filmed - the colours, the expanse, the use of empty space. Victor Erice delicately maneuvers his way through the telling of this simple story. He makes exceptional use of Ana Torrent's wide-eyed open features to create striking contrasts between innocence and the threat of danger. This is a lovely film. Erice has a gentle touch.

    This film is considered by many to be a Spanish masterpiece. It is beautifully filmed - the colours, the expanse, the use of empty space. Victor Erice delicately maneuvers his way through the telling of this simple story. He makes exceptional use of Ana Torrent's wide-eyed open features to create striking contrasts between innocence and the threat of danger. This is a lovely film. Erice has a gentle touch.

  • Oct 20, 2016

    The Spirit of the Beehive has gorgeous scenery, a sweet central character, an intriguing premise and such a great first act with some really heartwarming moments, but everything that came afterwards was either dull or disappointing and the movie is way too slow to be enjoyed more.

    The Spirit of the Beehive has gorgeous scenery, a sweet central character, an intriguing premise and such a great first act with some really heartwarming moments, but everything that came afterwards was either dull or disappointing and the movie is way too slow to be enjoyed more.