Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What is the Best Response To Oppression? (Spirit of the Beehive, 1973)

#93-- The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

The Spirit of the Beehive is about a family paralyzed by an oppressive regime.   They lay, lifeless, like Ana, when she pretends to be dead, causing her sister torment.  There seems to only be two options when surrounded by an omnipotent evil: pretend to be dead, never moving, or rage against the evil, fight on every side, only to be captured and destroyed, like the naïve monster in Frankenstein.

Ana recognizes that she has this choice.  She may only be a child, but the choice is given to each individual.  She chooses to feed a rebel soldier, to keep him alive and hidden from those who rule over them.  This turns out badly for everyone.   But the lesson of Frankenstein is: of course it will turn out badly.  Fighting, even in small ways, against a great bear only leads to destruction. But must not the bear who crushes and destroys be fought, even if it means our own demise?  In the end, will it not bring freedom to everyone?

Isn’t martyrdom preferable to quiet suffering?  And can’t even a child do her small part, accept her own martyrdom, for the sake of the greater good?

Fun Fact: Spirit of the Beehive was made in the last years of Franco's fascist Spain, using Spanish actors. sites and resources to make this anti-Franco film.  It is symbolic to deceive the Spanish censors.  One of the scenes was copied in Pan's Labyrinth, which takes place during Franco's Spanish Civil War. 

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