We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
The innocence of childhood plus the power of the movies—sounds like the formula that led to Cinema Paradiso, or something even worse. But those themes are central to one of the greatest films of the ’70s, director Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive. Set in a becalmed Spain just after its Civil War, this hushed, lyrical coming-of-age tale follows a little girl who seeks to decipher the meaning of life and death. After two sisters watch a traveling projectionist’s presentation of James Whale’s Frankenstein, Ana asks the older and much brasher Isabel to explain why two characters in the film are killed. Isabel professes to understand, and she later reveals something Ana doesn’t know: that a soldier, hunted just as relentlessly as Frankenstein’s monster, is hiding nearby. It falls to Ana to undertake the film’s transforming task, attempting to save the gentle monster from a second death. The film screens at 5:00 and 9:05 p.m. (see Showtimes for other dates) at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.25. (301) 495-6720. (Mark Jenkins)