El espíritu de la colmena

The Spirit of the Beehive | Der Geist des Bienenstocks
Set on the Castilian plateau in the early 1940s. A mobile cinema comes to town, to the absolute delight of the village children. Among the spellbound audience at the showing of the Universal Pictures horror classic Frankenstein are sisters Ana and Isabel. The next day they set out for an abandoned farm building, where – Isabel says – the spirit of the monster lives in the well. While she plays even more dirty tricks on Ana, the younger sister develops an increasing fascination with the movie creature, which killed a young girl in the film … The story of first encounters with cinema and with death are told in The Spirit of the Beehive from a childlike perspective. Director Victor Erice brings elements of horror into his ambiguous film about childish fears and a sense of the unfathomability of life, so that reality and imagination bleed into each other onscreen. Not least of all in Ana’s encounter with a stranger on the run, which not only mirrors the constellation that proved fatal for the young girl in Frankenstein, but lend the film – shot at the end of Spain’s Franco dictatorship – a dimension of contemporary history.
by Victor Erice
with Fernando Fernán Gómez, Teresa Gimpera, Ana Torrent, Isabel Tellería, Ketty de la Cámara, Estanis González, José Villasante, Juan Margallo, Laly Soldevila, Miguel Picazo
Spain 1973 Spanish 98’ Colour DCP: Tamasa Distribution, Paris

For the 2023 Retrospective, internationally renowned directors, actors, and screenwriters were asked to select their personal coming-of-age favourites.
Carla Simón on her selection


  • Fernando Fernán Gómez
  • Teresa Gimpera
  • Ana Torrent
  • Isabel Tellería
  • Ketty de la Cámara
  • Estanis González
  • José Villasante
  • Juan Margallo
  • Laly Soldevila
  • Miguel Picazo


Director Victor Erice
Screenplay Víctor Erice, Ángel Fernández Santos
Cinematography Luis Cuadrado
Editing Pablo G. del Amo
Music Luis de Pablo de Pablo
Sound Luis Rodríguez
Art Director Jaime Chávarri
Costumes Peris Hermanos
Make-Up Ramón de Diego
Producer Elías Querejeta

Produced by

Elías Querejeta Producciones Cinematográficas

Additional information

DCP: Tamasa Distribution, Paris