Spirit of the Beehive: A Vindication of Childhood Imagination

Victor Erice directed only three films in his career, yet managed to debut with what is considered one of Spain’s greatest cinematic achievements: 1973’s Spirit of the Beehive. It’s a masterpiece that has influenced cinema indelibly through Erice’s empathetic regard for his principle characters and a quiet solemnity unmatched by his contemporaries. Of Erice’s handful of films, two—Spirit and El Sur—featured children as their protagonists. For Erice, this choice of child protagonists was neither incidental nor a consequence of the plot. Instead, it was driven by his need to explore one of his favorite themes to revisit—the child’s guileless discovery of a world...

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