El espíritu de la colmena (1973)
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- The Spirit of the Beehive
- 98 min.
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A movie you can't look away from, but damn, I just didn't get it.
Spanish director Víctor Erice's The Spirit of the Beehive has to be part of the inspiration for Pan's Labyrinth. It just has to be. Set during the Spanish Civil War, it stars a couple of young girls who, after seeing Universal's Frankenstein, reimagine him as an immortal spirit and come to believe he resides in an abandoned barn. For the older girl, the world of spirits seems an excuse to give in to dark impulses. For the younger - whose eyes will SWALLOW YOUR SOUL, gosh - it is a mystery she herself creates in trying to understand death. Certainly, there's a lot of tension in the film just from the girls putting themselves in odd kind of dangers, both physical and spiritual. The film operates like poetry, with images overlapping and resonating, but does not easily give up its secrets. It's gorgeous, quiet, intriguing, at times eerie, purposefully lyrical, and for all its art and spare image making, still captivates. Del Toro fans would do well to check it out, but it's a recommendation I extend to all true cinephiles.
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In 21 official lists
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This movie ranks #2 in Caimán's Top Spanish Films
This movie ranks #3 in Nickel Odeón's Best Spanish Films
This movie ranks #21 in iCheckMovies's 1970s Top 100
This movie ranks #27 in Empire's The 100 Best Films of World Cinema
This movie ranks #46 in Butler's Fantasy Cinema: Impossible Worlds on Screen
This movie ranks #54 in Stanley Kubrick, Cinephile
This movie ranks #67 in Akira Kurosawa's A Dream Is a Genius
This movie ranks #85 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time
This movie ranks #93 in Empire's The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #108 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #190 in iCheckMovies's Most Favorited
This movie ranks #224 in Harvard's Suggested Film Viewing: Narrative Films
This movie ranks #297 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #345 in BFI's 360 Classic Feature Films Project
This movie ranks #362 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #373 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #407 in Roger Ebert's Great Movies
This movie ranks #559 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #767 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #811 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #863 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life