The children who chase down Frankenstein's monster (the James Whale incarnation) in Victor Erice's 1973 film, The Spirit of the Beehive, aren't really after a flesh and black-blood beast. They're chasing down death. Like most children they're not only terrified but also fascinated with shadows. Like all children who cannot conceive of the finality of death, they are fascinated by death.
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The city in question is Paris, where Max, the family patriarch and owner of a large pharmaceutical company, has traveled from Madrid seeking treatment for a tumor that has left him slightly demented and close to death. By his side is his wife Marie (the formidable Geraldine Chaplin, as thin and cold as an icicle), who clearly has something dark on her mind. She's joined by her three sons, Luis (Roberto Alvarez), Alberto (Alex Casanovas), and the youngest, Victor (Leonardo Sbaraglia), who flies in from Argentina with his girlfriend (Leticia Bredice) for what may be Max's death watch.
Continue reading: The City Of No Limits Review
A compelling marriage of innocence and intellectualism, "The Butterfly" views the see-sawing political upheaval of 1936 Spain through the life of a worrisome, bookish little boy.
Our young hero -- an asthmatic tailor's son named Moncho (Manuel Lozano) -- becomes fascinated by learning through his affectionate tutelage under an old schoolmaster (legendary Spanish thespian Fernando Fernan Gomez, "The Grandfather," "Belle Epoque"), whose involvement in humanitarian causes and whose open eschewment of the church put him in the crosshairs of the right-wingers critical of the precarious current government.
But, understandably, Moncho more interested in playing in the fields near his village and learning about life and nature from his mentor than he is in the freedom newly tasted by revolutionary republicans like his teacher and cautiously activist parents (played with tenderness and depth by Uxia Blanco and Gonzalo Uriarte). He takes only minor notice of the way fear and paranoia about losing their newly won rights is a constant topic of conversation among the grown-ups around him.
Continue reading: Butterfly Review