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 Top Spanish films until 1995
This movie ranks #27 in The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema
This movie ranks #46 in Fantasy Cinema: Impossible Worlds on Screen
This movie ranks #50 in IMDb's 1970s Top 50
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 and Sound 2012 - Combined List
This movie ranks #93 in Empire 500
This movie ranks #97 in Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films
This movie ranks #113 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #224 in Harvard University's Suggested Film Viewing List: Narrative Films (2012)
This movie ranks #236 in iCheckMovies - Most Favorite
This movie ranks #301 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #345 in The British Film Institute: 360 Classics
This movie ranks #362 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #371 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #406 in Roger Ebert: the great movies
This movie ranks #573 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #763 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films
This movie ranks #863 in TimeOut's 1000 Films to Change Your Life