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.
This is an allegory of Spanish life after General Franco's victory in the
Spanish Civil War. While their father studies bees in his beehive and their
mother writes letters to a non-existent correspondent, two young girls, Ana and
Isabel, go to see James Whale's Frankenstein at a local cinema. Though
they can hardly understand the concept, both girls are deeply impressed with
the moment when a little girl gives a flower to the monster. Isabel, the older
sister, tells Ana that the monster actually exists as a spirit that you can't
see unless you know how to approach him. Ana starts wandering around the
countryside in search of the kind creature. The film received critical
accolades for its subtle and masterful use of cinematic language and the
expressive performance of the young Ana Torrent.
studied law, political science, and economics at the University of Madrid. He
also attended the Escuela Oficial de Cinematografia in 1963 to study film
direction. He wrote film criticism and reviews for the Spanish film journal
Nuestro Cine, and made a series of short films before making his first feature
film, The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), a critical portrait of 1940s rural
Spain that many regard as one of the greatest Spanish films ever made.
years later, Erice wrote and directed El Sur (1983), based on a story
from Adelaida García Morales, considered a masterpiece although the producer
Elías Querejeta only allowed him to film the first two-thirds of the story. His
third movie, The Quince Tree Sun (1992) is a documentary about painter
Antonio López García. The film won the Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI Prize at the
1992 Cannes Film Festival.
was a member of the jury at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival in May.