‘Spirit of the Beehive’ featured at library

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Special to the Monitor
The classic Spanish film, “The Spirit of the Beehive” (“El Espiritu de la Colmena”) (1973, subtitled) will screen at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Mesa Public Library’s upstairs meeting-room theater. The free screening is part of the Mesa Public Library Free Film Series.

Set in 1940, the film, which won multiple awards for best actor (Ana Torrent) and best director (Victor Erice), and is listed on Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” list, begins when inhabitants of a small Spanish town gather to watch the 1931 masterpiece “Frankenstein.”

Later that night and unable to sleep, one of the children, Ana (Ana Torrent) asks her slightly older sister why the monster killed the young girl. Isabel (Isabel Telleria) responds that he didn’t – that it was fake, a trick – and further, that she’s seen the monster for real, as a spirit.

Isabel’s story leads Ana to a misunderstanding that leads to potentially serious consequences for her and her family. 

This poetic film features open, sun-filled vistas of the Spanish plains the girls play in as though the whole world belongs to them. They seem more at home at large than at home with their parents: an introspective father who cares diligently for his beehives and an enigmatic mother who writes letters to men who aren’t her husband. 

There’s plenty to praise here, but the cinematography alone, shot by the nearly blind Luis Cuadrado, makes “The Spirit of the Beehive” worth watching. Cuadrado ultimately went completely blind and in 1980 committed suicide.

As part of its free series, Mesa Public Library will present “Two Days One Night” on June 1, “Say Anything” July 6, “Roxanne” Aug. 3, “Annie Hall” Sept. 7, “McCabe and Mrs Miller” Oct. 5, “Days of Heaven” Nov. 2, and “The Last Waltz” Dec. 7. 


All screenings are on the first Thursday of the month and are presented thanks to the Friends of Los Alamos County Libraries.