Victor EriceSpain97 minutes1973ColourSpanish
Victor Erice's poetic mood piece has frequently been read as a symbolic commentary on Franco's Spain, but to reduce it to a strictly allegorical level does a grave injustice to its entrancing, mysterious power. In a small Spanish village shortly after the 1940 victory of Franco's fascists, a screening of Frankenstein captures the imagination of six-year-old Ana (Ana Torrent); when she ventures out into the countryside searching for the "monster" that her older sister teasingly tells her lives there, she encounters horrors that are all too human. "The Spirit of the Beehive is a seminal movie for me — I even modelled the girl in Cronos exactly on Ana Torrent. That movie, along with the films of Buñuel and the films of Hitchcock, is almost a part of my genetic makeup, buried deep in my DNA" (Guillermo del Toro).