How I voted in Sight & Sound's decennial critics' poll
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3. "The Spirit of the Beehive" (Víctor Erice, 1973)
Another disquieting reflection on childhood, though not one I had the privilege of discovering in my own youth: I have my freshman-year Spanish lecturer to thank for introducing me to a film that still doesn't receive quite the exposure it merits, though its appearance in this year's S&S Top 100 suggests it's clawing its way into the canon. A study of a young girl (the bewitching six year-old Ana Torrent) in desolate Franco-era Spain, mesmerised into an escalating world of delusion after watching James Whale's “Frankenstein,” it's both a triumph of oblique political filmmaking and a profound dedication to cinema's limitless capacity for fantasy, bound in a simple, brittle portrait of an emotionally dispersed family slowly mending itself.
Photo Credit: Janus Films