Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thoughts on The Spirit of the Beehive

-Ana Torent stars as a little girl living in rural, early-Generalissimo Spain, with her pathological liar sister and her parents, seperated in age by at least twenty years, the mother consumed in a long-distance affair, the father with his beekeeping. When a travelling cinema comes to town with Frankenstein, she begins to search for a monster of her own to befriend.

-This makes it seem much more plot-oriented than it is. Really, this is just a rough outline of a much looser narrative, oozing with metaphors and pretty, pretty pictures, painting the landscape yellow, a tale of a girl's isolation, a country's degradation, etc, etc.

-Torent is kind of amazing. She can't be more than ten here, but she manages to convey loneliness, innocence, maturity, all that shit, with her eyes.

-It's hard to explain in a few paragraphs. To theorize on what director Victor Erice meant--this was made at the tail end of Franco's reign, when the dictatorship had relaxed, but the censors were still alive and well--would require a greater knowledge of post-war Spain that I have. You could say that was the key to every other theory. Is this really so small a story as a little girl looking for Frankenstein, or is she just an avatar for the country itself? Should I be taking anything at face value? The late appearence of a Republican soldier, wounded and taking solace in a shack frequented by Torent in her search, says no, I shouldn't. But I will, because the literal story is as sad and sweet and beautiful as the metaphorical one.

-You've got to watch it to get what I mean, I tell you. Bro. Go. Now. I'll wait.