OTB#72: The Spirit of the Beehive

Huh. Is that how they spell 1940 in Spain?

So, this is a movie about watching movies? It’s a very, very popular genre among directors (Cinema Paradiso etc etc).

No, that was a fake-out… doesn’t seem to be about that at all…

I was going to say that this seemed like an outlier among the new movies on the list this year. I think that all the movies I’ve watched so far have been either 1) made by a woman director, or 2) made outside Western Europe/US, or 4) both.

But… there’s only one other Spanish movie on the list, so I guess this is another movie from an underrepresented country?

Hm… half the votes are from the British Isles…

Heh. I like Aki Kaurismäki’s list — only a single movie he voted for made the Sight & Sound top 100s. That’s pretty unique. And I’ve seen very few of these films myself. I think I’ve seen the Buñuel… and I’ve got the Walsh on bluray, but haven’t seen it yet. And everybody’s seen the Chaplin. I’m sure the rest of the films on the list are spiffy, too.

I dunno… This is a pretty good movie, but there’s also something a bit cloying about it. Like the sountrack bit that seemed to come out of nowhere in this scene, coupled with the foley “wind is blowing” throughout. It’s gilding the lily a bit (or doesn’t trust the viewer).


The film was Erice’s debut and is considered a masterpiece of Spanish cinema.

It has that feel — “a masterpiece of <country> cinema” — which means that it’s inoffensive, sentimental and “”says something deeply meaningful about <country>””. These movies usually suck, but this is kinda good. But not… you know… fantastic.

Of course, this movie the added attraction that it was made during the Franco years, but managed to work around the repressive censorship of the time. That always adds some caché.

El espiritu de la colmena. Víctor Erice. 1973.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best 2022 series.

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