Víctor Erice

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Víctor Erice
Victor Erice.jpg
Víctor Erice Aras

(1940-06-30) 30 June 1940 (age 81)
Alma materUniversity of Madrid
  • Film director
  • writer
Years active1969–2012

Víctor Erice Aras (Spanish: [eˈɾiθe]; born 30 June 1940) is a Spanish film director. He is best known for his two feature fiction films, The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), which many regard as one of the greatest Spanish films ever made,[1][2] and El Sur (1983).

Early life[edit]

Erice was born in Karrantza, Biscay. He studied law, political science, and economics at the University of Madrid. He also attended the Escuela Oficial de Cinematografia in 1963 to study film direction.


He wrote film criticism and reviews for the Spanish film journal Nuestro Cine, and made a series of short films before making his first feature film, The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), a critical portrait of 1940s rural Spain.

Erice was among other filmmakers, such as Luis Buñuel, who lived in “such restricted societies as Franco’s Spain,” to take aim at the authoritarian rule in power. At the time his first film was released in 1973, Francisco Franco was still in power.[3] One of the things The Spirit of the Beehive is known for is its use of symbolism to portray what life was like in Spain under Franco’s rule.[4] Setting the movie in 1940, at the start of Franco’s rule, was a risk for Erice, given that the film “wasn’t a propagandist effort in which stalwart Francoists won victories against evil, priest-massacring Republicans.”[5]

Ten years later, Erice wrote and directed El Sur (1983), based on a story from Adelaida García Morales, another highly regarded film, although the producer Elías Querejeta only allowed him to film the first two-thirds of the story. His third movie, The Quince Tree Sun (1992) is a documentary about painter Antonio López García. The film won the Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.[6]

He was a member of the jury at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival in May.[7]

At the 2014 Locarno Film Festival, Erice was awarded with a Golden Leopard award for lifetime achievement.[8]


Geoff Andrew, in the Time Out Film Guide, praises Erice's contribution to Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet (Lifeline) as "quite masterly", adding "it only makes you wish he worked more frequently".[9] Excluding that short film, he has produced only three major works: The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), El Sur (1983) and Dream of Light (1992, The Quince Tree Sun). Critic Tony Rayns describes The Spirit of the Beehive as "a haunting mood piece that dispenses with plot and works its spells through intricate patterns of sound and image"[10] and of El Sur it has been said that "Erice creates his film as a canvas, conjuring painterly images of slow dissolves and shafts of light that match Caravaggio in their power to animate a scene of stillness, or freeze one of mad movement".[citation needed]


Erice's work portraying children dreaming and their attraction to fantastic worlds during and around times like the Spanish Civil War would go on to influence Guillermo Del Toro and his respective films, including The Devil’s Backbone, and Pan’s Labyrinth.[5]


Year Film Credited as
Director Writer
1973 El Espíritu de la Colmena Yes Yes
1983 El Sur Yes Yes
1992 El Sol del Membrillo (The Quince Tree Sun) Yes Yes


  • Sea-Mail, 2007
  • La Morte Rouge, 2006
  • Alumbramiento, 2002
  • Entre Vías, 1966
  • Los Días Perdidos, 1963
  • Páginas De Un Diario Perdido, 1962
  • On The Terrace, 1961


Jury Prize, 1992 Cannes Film Festival[12]

FIRPRESCI Prize, 1992 Cannes Film Festival[13]

Golden Leopard for lifetime achievement[8]


  1. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 20, 2012). "Spirit of the Beehive Movie Review (1973)". Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  2. ^ "1,000 Greatest Films (Full List)". They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?. February 7, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  3. ^ "Film Notes -Spirit of the Beehive". www.albany.edu. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  4. ^ "The Spirit of the Beehive", Wikipedia, 2020-05-01, retrieved 2020-05-01
  5. ^ a b "Empire Essay: The Spirit Of The Beehive". Empire. 2007-02-12. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  6. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Dream of Light". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  7. ^ "Hollywood Reporter: Cannes Lineup". hollywoodreporter. Archived from the original on April 22, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
  8. ^ a b Vivarelli, Nick (2014-05-15). "Locarno Film Festival To Honor Spanish Auteur Victor Erice". Variety. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  9. ^ Quoted in "Time Out" Film Guide: 17, 2008, p. 1061.
  10. ^ Quoted in "Time Out" Film Guide: 17, 2008, p. 1003.
  11. ^ "Víctor Erice". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  12. ^ AlloCine. "Prix du Jury - Festival de Cannes". AlloCiné (in French). Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  13. ^ "1992 Cannes Film Festival", Wikipedia, 2019-12-26, retrieved 2020-05-01

External links[edit]