Spirit of the Beehive

El Espíritu de la colmena

Victor Erice, Espagne, 1973, Carlotta


In this double sequence, the director plays with repetition and difference between two identical scenes. On the first day, the two sisters stop not far from a crumbling sheepfold on their way to school. The eldest, Isabel, told the youngest, Ana, it is the place where Frankenstein’s monster live. They saw him at an itinerant cinema.

In the first part, the camera is still, with Ana, far from the sheepfold. Isabel whispers something to her ear before heading to the sheepfold. The director hides what she tells her, we don’t hear it. Isabel gets closer to the well then and looks down, but we don’t know what she sees. She leans over the sides of the well and sees the back water she blurs throwing a stone in. Then she goes inside the sheepfold and the director, through subjective panoramic view, is supposed to show us what she sees. But when the eye arrives on the left of the room, plunged into darkness, what is shown is hidden by the dark. The mystery of the unseen remains, even if Ana is looking.