A Child and a Monster go to the Lake, or …
“What shall we throw in now?”

August 19th, 2022
Category: Uncategorized

Set in central Spain shortly after the Spanish revolution, Victor Erice’s film The Spirit of the Beehive opens with the children of a rural village watching James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931). Two of the children, sisters Ana and Isabelle, watch wide-eyed as the monster encounters a young girl by a mountain lake. It’s the same scene you’ll find restaged for laughs in Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein (1974), but here it’s played straight. The result is at once moving and confounding, leaving the viewer—like the child—to wonder just what the heck is going on.

I admit to having had the same reaction during most of the film’s hour-and-a-half running time. Nevertheless, I admit, it was time well spent.

The monster-by-the-lake scene takes place late in Erice’s film, but revealing it here isn’t a spoiler. Beehive isn’t about plot. It’s a meditation on innocence, wonder, and the ways that children make peace with the troubled world that lies just beyond their grasp.

[Read more at The 21st-Century Scop.]

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