What’s it about?:The setting is a sleepy village in rural Spain around 1940, just after the conclusion of the Spanish civil war. The rural community is incredibly isolated and resembles medieval life in the peoples’ use of horse drawn carriages, oxen, and crumbling brick buildings. One of the most anticipated community events is the weekly screening of a movie, which is brought in by a couple of entrepreneurs for a screening before they head on to the next village. Two sisters end up seeing James Whale’s Frankenstein, causing the younger of the two to embark on a search for the Monster’s spirit, which she finds in the person of a young soldier who has deserted the army. In the meantime, her father (a beekeeper) and mother must come to terms with their lost dreams, the banality of life, and their lost love for each other.
Thoughts: Using Frankenstein as a metaphor for life and death, both literal and emotional, Spirit of the Beehive uses James Whale’s film as a reflection on childhood innocence, imagination, and dreams. The adults of the film are stuck in a bee like repetition of life (the father’s job as a beekeeper and his honeycomb-esque glass windows emphasize this) that they can never escape and thus have grown a part from each other. The children, particularly Ana, search out the Monster in hopes of connecting with a kindred spirit and as a substitute for the emotional separation from their parents. The entire film is shot as if it were a dream. It doesn’t follow any traditional narrative and requires the viewer to figure out the symbolism and structure for themselves. The last act of the film, in which Ana comes face to face with the Monster and the possible implication of the films final shot is incredible. A non-horror film that should be of extreme interest to horror fans, if that makes sense.