Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

The Shadow of Maeterlinck's La Vie des abeilles and El espíritu de la colmena

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2010), 87, (8), 961–976.

Abstract

No critic of El espríitu de la colmena (1973, Víctor Erice) has systematically analysed the – albeit brief – citation of the work of the Belgian prose writer and poet, Maurice Maeterlinck, although some insist that the allusion to the entire text is key. This essay seeks to explore the way in which the film subtly incorporates elements of this famous book on apiculture as a structural narrative base. Further, it also analyses the socio-historic implications of this citation/incorporation or problematic 'shadow', the dialectic and ambiguities of sacrifice and transcendence in the double context of the film's post-Civil War setting, and its construction and release in the 1970s during the Franco regime.

Ningún crítico de El espíritu de la colmena (1973, Víctor Erice) ha analizado sistemáticamente la citación – aunque sólo breve – de la obra del dramaturgo y prosista Bélgica Maurice Maeterlinck, aunque algunos insisten en que la alusión al libro entero es clave. Este ensayo intenta explorar no sólo la manera en que la película incorpora sutilmente elementos de su famoso libro apiculturita La vie des abeilles (1901) como base estructural narrativa, sino también analiza las implicaciones socio-históricas de dicha citación/incorporación o 'sombra' problemática, es decir la dialéctica y ambigüedades del discurso del sacrificio y la trascendencia en el doble contexto del marco posguerra y la construcción y estreno de la película en los años setenta durante el régimen franquista.

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El espíritu de la colmena. 1973, dir. Victor Erice (Bocaccio Distribución). Google Scholar

Evans, Peter, 1995. 'Cinema, Memory and the Unconscious', in Helen Graham and Jo Labanyi (eds.) Spanish Cultural Studies, An Introduction: The Struggle for Modernity (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Cinema, Memory and the Unconscious Spanish Cultural Studies, An Introduction: The Struggle for Modernity Google Scholar

Eyres, Harry, 2007. 'Altered Images', The Financial Times: Weekend, 20–21 January, p. 14. Google Scholar

Fernández-Santos, Ángel, and Victor Erice, 1976. El espíritu de la colmena (Madrid: Elías Querejeta Ediciones). (Includes Fernando Savater, 'Riesgos de la iniciación al espíritu', pp. 9–26, and Miguel Rubio, Jos Oliver and Manuel Matji, 'Entrevista con Víctor Erice', pp. 136–50). Google Scholar

Frankenstein. 1931, dir. James Whale (Universal Pictures). Google Scholar

Maeterlinck, Maurice, 1901a. La Vie des abeilles (Paris: Bibliothèque Charpentier). La Vie des abeilles Google Scholar

Maeterlinck, Maurice, 1901b. The Life of the Bee, trans. Alfred Sutro (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company). The Life of the Bee Google Scholar

Maeterlinck, Maurice, 2004 [1946]. La vida de las abejas (trans. unknown) (Madrid: Espasa Calpe). Google Scholar

Miles, Robert J., 2007. '"Entre dos Fuegos": The Function of Teresa and the Possible Subplot in El espíritu de la colmena', Journal of Romance Studies, 7. 2: 99–122. "Entre dos Fuegos": The Function of Teresa and the Possible Subplot in El espíritu de la colmena Journal of Romance Studies 7 99 122 Google Scholar

Pan's Labyrinth. 2006, dir. Guillermo Del Toro (Picturehouse). Google Scholar

Pena, Jaime, 2004. Víctor Erice: El espíritu de la colmena (Barcelona: Ediciones Paidós). Víctor Erice: El espíritu de la colmena Google Scholar

Ramírez, Juan Antonio, 2000 [1998]. The Beehive Metaphor: From Gaudí to Le Corbusier (London: Reaktion Books). First published as Juan Antonio Ramírez, La metáfora de la colmena: De Gaudí a Le Corbusier (Madrid: Siruela). Google Scholar

Redondo, Onésimo, 1939. El estado nacional (Barcelona: Editado por la Delegación nacional de prensa y propaganda de F.E.T. y de las J.O.N.S.). El estado nacional Google Scholar

Riley, Philip J. (ed.), 1989. Frankenstein: The Original Shooting Script, Universal Filmscripts Series, Classic Horror Films, vol. 1, with production background by Gregory William Mank and a Foreword by Forest J. Ackerman (Abescon, NJ: Magic Image Filmbooks). Google Scholar

Smith, Paul Julian (2007). 'Pan's Labyrinth', Film Quarterly, 60.4: 5–6. Pan's Labyrinth Film Quarterly 60 5 6 Google Scholar

El espíritu de la colmena. 1973, dir. Victor Erice (Bocaccio Distribución). Google Scholar

Stone, Rob, 2002. Spanish Cinema (London: Pearson Education). Spanish Cinema Google Scholar

Evans, Peter, 1995. 'Cinema, Memory and the Unconscious', in Helen Graham and Jo Labanyi (eds.) Spanish Cultural Studies, An Introduction: The Struggle for Modernity (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Cinema, Memory and the Unconscious Spanish Cultural Studies, An Introduction: The Struggle for Modernity Google Scholar

Eyres, Harry, 2007. 'Altered Images', The Financial Times: Weekend, 20–21 January, p. 14. Google Scholar

Vila, Xavier (1996). 'El espíritu de la colmena y La Vie des abeilles: una nota', Revista Hispánica Moderna, 49.2: 484–85. El espíritu de la colmena y La Vie des abeilles: una nota Revista Hispánica Moderna 49 484 85 Google Scholar

Fernández-Santos, Ángel, and Victor Erice, 1976. El espíritu de la colmena (Madrid: Elías Querejeta Ediciones). (Includes Fernando Savater, 'Riesgos de la iniciación al espíritu', pp. 9–26, and Miguel Rubio, Jos Oliver and Manuel Matji, 'Entrevista con Víctor Erice', pp. 136–50). Google Scholar

Frankenstein. 1931, dir. James Whale (Universal Pictures). Google Scholar

Maeterlinck, Maurice, 1901a. La Vie des abeilles (Paris: Bibliothèque Charpentier). La Vie des abeilles Google Scholar

Maeterlinck, Maurice, 1901b. The Life of the Bee, trans. Alfred Sutro (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company). The Life of the Bee Google Scholar

Maeterlinck, Maurice, 2004 [1946]. La vida de las abejas (trans. unknown) (Madrid: Espasa Calpe). Google Scholar

Miles, Robert J., 2007. '"Entre dos Fuegos": The Function of Teresa and the Possible Subplot in El espíritu de la colmena', Journal of Romance Studies, 7. 2: 99–122. "Entre dos Fuegos": The Function of Teresa and the Possible Subplot in El espíritu de la colmena Journal of Romance Studies 7 99 122 Google Scholar

Pan's Labyrinth. 2006, dir. Guillermo Del Toro (Picturehouse). Google Scholar

Pena, Jaime, 2004. Víctor Erice: El espíritu de la colmena (Barcelona: Ediciones Paidós). Víctor Erice: El espíritu de la colmena Google Scholar

Ramírez, Juan Antonio, 2000 [1998]. The Beehive Metaphor: From Gaudí to Le Corbusier (London: Reaktion Books). First published as Juan Antonio Ramírez, La metáfora de la colmena: De Gaudí a Le Corbusier (Madrid: Siruela). Google Scholar

Redondo, Onésimo, 1939. El estado nacional (Barcelona: Editado por la Delegación nacional de prensa y propaganda de F.E.T. y de las J.O.N.S.). El estado nacional Google Scholar

Riley, Philip J. (ed.), 1989. Frankenstein: The Original Shooting Script, Universal Filmscripts Series, Classic Horror Films, vol. 1, with production background by Gregory William Mank and a Foreword by Forest J. Ackerman (Abescon, NJ: Magic Image Filmbooks). Google Scholar

Smith, Paul Julian (2007). 'Pan's Labyrinth', Film Quarterly, 60.4: 5–6. Pan's Labyrinth Film Quarterly 60 5 6 Google Scholar

Stone, Rob, 2002. Spanish Cinema (London: Pearson Education). Spanish Cinema Google Scholar

Vila, Xavier (1996). 'El espíritu de la colmena y La Vie des abeilles: una nota', Revista Hispánica Moderna, 49.2: 484–85. El espíritu de la colmena y La Vie des abeilles: una nota Revista Hispánica Moderna 49 484 85 Google Scholar

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Miles, Robert