The Spirit of the BeehiveDirector: Victor Erice,
Widely regarded as a masterpiece of Spanish cinema, this allegorical tale is set in a remote village in the 1940s. The life in the village is calm and uneventful -- an allegory of Spanish life after General Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War. While their father (Fernando Fernán Gómez) studies bees in his beehive and their mother (Teresa Gimpera) writes letters
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Víctor Erice's masterpiece of Spanish cinema, El espíritu de la colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive), tells a simple and beautiful tale, but is also wholly allegorical in regards to the political and social conditions of Spain. Made in 1973 toward the end of Franco's run, it takes place in a small village in 1940, immediately following the Spanish Civil War and Franco's victory. The film presumably uses many plot devices as code for its secret political symbolism, and one of them is the fascinating use of cinema within the film. Through this meta-commentary, the film brings new attention to the referential nature of film and what this means for the larger, political picture. Not only was The Spirit of the Beehive politically subversive, but it was also aesthetically innovative in many influential ways.