Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Spirit of the Beehive and Jan Vermeer

I was watching Victor Erice's 1973 masterpiece Spirit of the Beehive (El Espíritu de la Colmena) the other night and was once again struck by Luís Cuadrado's honey-colored cinematography that evokes the paintings of Dutch masters like Jan Vermeer. Or, as DVD Journal's Mark Bourne describes it, "his church-window lighting and magic-hour landscape portraits of the desolate, windy Castilian plain and the village's dun-colored homes create a world that's so dreamlike we can wonder if, to Erice, it's an entire country that's waking to whatever its imagination conjures up next."

Googling pictures from Beehive and paintings by Vermeer, I found the similarities astounding. See what you think.

Ana Torrent window gazing in Spirit of the Beehive

Vermeer's Geographer (1668)

It made me think of other directors who have made films whose every frame seems like it was taken off a freshly painted canvas, like Zhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers or Wong Kar-Wai's 2046, whose colors and lighting call to mind the works of Edward Hopper.


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