The Uncertainty PrincipleApril 15, 2011
The Ends Justify the MeansApril 22, 2011
I recently watched a wonderful film called El Espiritú de la Colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive). It’s set in central Spain in 1940, just after the end of the civil war, so obviously the subject matter is what first drew me in, but this movie transcends its specific time and place. Picture an eerie Grimm’s fairytale that’s a cross between
Il Postino [oops!] Cinema Paradiso and Pan’s Labyrinth, with a clip from James Whale’s Dr. Frankenstein thrown in for good measure.
It’s told from the perspective of an impressionable young girl with a mischievious older sister and emotionally distant parents who are numbed by their memories of the war (though we’re never explicitly told what happened to them). Essentially, it’s the story of a child’s imagination and her loss of innocence, of the moment she’s faced with the cruelty of the world and her parents’ inability to shield her from it.
I find it remarkable that this movie was made in 1973, while Franco was still alive and in power. I would venture a guess that it was one of the first Spanish films to question the dictatorship so openly in what were its dying days—though I could be wrong about that. If anyone knows otherwise, please post in the comments field, below.
The young girl who plays the lead character of Ana—and who had to have been about six years old when the movie was shot—did an extraordinary job. Her big, soulful eyes will haunt me for some time. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is a cinema buff. If you do watch it, let me know what you think.