Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Spirit of Erice

Victor Erice has only made three full-length features. His debut, The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) is, in my opinion, one of the greatest films ever made, a beautiful, haunting and multi-layered masterpiece. The South (1983) was his follow-up, but I have never seen it. A Spanish dvd is now out of print and fetches insane amounts on eBay every month or so, and its on YouTube in 9 segments, but it seems a sin to watch a full Erice feature on YouTube. The Quince Tree Sun (1992) is a lovely little semi-documentary, utterly different from his debut yet just as compelling in its own way. All of which adds up to the image of Erice as a Spanish Terence Malick.

But Malick has made features in the last decade, whereas all Erice has done is La Mort Rouge (2006), a half-hour documentary on his correspondance with Abbas Kiarostami for the exhibition on the same subject, "Erice-Kiarostami". That and a ten minute film titled Lifeline for the Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet (2002) anthology of shorts. Its a beautiful piece of work, as meditative and layered as I can imagine any short of such brevity could be, and it suggests just how great a talent Erice possesses and just how keenly we miss him working more consistently.

The good news is that its on YouTube (and here is an interview he gave at the NFT in London in which he discusses the film):

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