The Spirit of the Beehive

El espiritu de la colmena

In a Castilian village in 1940, a young girl watches the film Frankenstein screened in the local town hall. Affected by the film, she begins to see the monster everywhere and, regarding him as a friend, slowly forges a fairy tale otherworld with her imagination that becomes her refuge, far removed from drab reality. A fantastic allegory for Francoist Spain (where fascism signals the death of innocence, the destruction of the imagination), The Spirit of the Beehive does away with logical connections between images to impose instead a freely associative narrative, one reminiscent of the contrivances that apply in dreams. In this singular masterpiece, the great Victor Erice invites audiences to join him in an exploration of the primordial wellsprings of poetry: innocence, dreams, and the imagination. He wants us to become children again, so as to regain our ability to be astonished in the face of the ineffable, the mysterious, the magical. Because children alone are immortal.
Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Víctor Erice
Script: Víctor Erice
Cinematography: Luís Cuadrado
Editing: Pablo G. del Amo
Music: Luis de Pablo
Actors: Ana Torrent, Isabel Tellería, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Teresa Gimpera, Queti de la Cámara
Production: Elías Querejeta Producciones Cinematográficas
Producers: Elías Querejeta
Format: DCP
Color: Color
Production Country: Spain
Production Year: 1973
Duration: 99'
Contact: Tamasa Distribution
Awards/Distinctions: Golden Seashell – San Sebastián IFF 1973, Silver Hugo – Chicago IFF 1973, Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, CEC Award – Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain 1974

Víctor Erice

Filmmaker and writer Víctor Erice is regarded as one of the most renowned filmmakers from Spain. He was born in Carranza in 1940. At the age of 17 Erice moved to Madrid where he first studied economics and politics before turning to film directing at Escuela Oficial de Cinematografia. He has written for and was editor of the Spanish film journal Nuestro Cine. After making several short films, he shot his feature debut with the magical-realist classic The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), which would attain a legendary status within Spanish cinema. He then went on to make The South (1983), an adaptation of the novel by Adelaida García Morales. The Quince Tree Sun (1992), his documentary about painter Antonio López García, won both the Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes. In 2002, Erice filmed Lifeline, one of the episodes in the feature film Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet, in which other prominent international filmmakers also participated, including Aki Kaurismäki, Jim Jarmusch, Werner Herzog, and Spike Lee. In 2005, within the context of the exhibition titled Erice–Kiarostami. Correspondence, he started to direct the series of short films Letters to Abbas Kiarostami. At the 2014 Locarno Film Festival, Erice was awarded a Golden Leopard award for lifetime achievement. Close Your Eyes, his first feature film in thirty years, premiered in Cannes in 2023.


1963 Los Días Perdidos (short)
1973 The Spirit of the Beehive
1983 The South
1992 The Quince Tree Sun (doc)
2023 Close Your Eyes