sinecine ISSN: 1309-5838

The Iconology of The Spirit of The Beehive

This study investigates the meanings of the images in The Spirit of the Beehive (El Espíritu de la Colmena,1973) and the ideas of the director Victor Erice implicit in the film. The film deals with the life of a family in Spain after the Civil War. The story is about a young girl, Ana, and her family members, who live in the rural part of Castilla. Ana discovers some objects, personalities and situations in her surroundings, like the beehive, the film Frankenstein, and other metaphors and symbols that refer to certain paintings, films and stories in history. The Baroque paintings in the house, for example, reveal the director’s link to tradition. In order to understand the meanings in the film, and the ideas of the director, this study employs the iconological analysis method of Panofsky. In the first part, the article provides an iconographic analysis of images and expressions. Then it investigates the implicit concepts of the film and related ideas of the director. It concludes with a discussion of other interpretations of the beehive metaphor, which is usually regarded as a motif of the solidarity in social organisation. The discussion of Victor Erice’s references to painting, literature, cinema, cultural entomology, and spatial design, elucidates the color, light, texture, emotional frame, and problematics of the film.
Keywords: Victor Erice, the spirit of beehive, iconological analysis.