The first in our series of conversations about classic films, Joan Tewkesbury leads a conversation featuring Paul Barnes and Mara Fortes about one of the great European masterpieces, set in the uneasy time after a brutal war. It’s a tale with resonances with today, as we face the rise of totalitarian regimes globally. This talk will explore the visionary storytelling techniques Víctor Erice used in his spellbinding film, including situating it within the perspective of a young child, and the ways in which dread and violence can live outside of the frame, and still influence a film’s emotions.

About SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE: included in The Guardian’s list of top 25 arthouse films of all time, Erice’s masterpiece unfolds In a small Castilian village in 1940, in the wake of the country’s devastating civil war. Six-year-old Ana attends a traveling movie show of FRANKENSTEIN and becomes possessed by the memory of it. Produced as Franco’s long regime was nearing its end, this bewitching portrait of a child’s haunted inner life remains of the most visually arresting movies ever made.


Joan Tewkesbury began her career at age ten as a dancer, played an Ostrich and Mary Martin’s flying understudy in Jerome Robins’ Peter Pan, choreographed and danced in nightclubs in San Francisco and Reno, Nevada, and directed and choreographed for theatre in the U.S., Scotland and London. She has amassed credits as a writer, director, producer, and choreographer in feature film, theatre and television, including screenplays for Robert Altman’s THIEVES LIKE US and NASHVILLE. Her directorial first feature OLD BOYFRIENDS was presented at the Cannes Film Festival. Her many TV credits include writing and directing the award-winning Acorn People , The Tenth Month, Sudie and Simpson and Cold Sassy Tree. She has directed off-Broadway, co-choreographed and directed for the Oregon Ballet Theatre and her  play The Retrospective was presented at the Manhattan Theatre Source. She is an advisor for the Sundance Institute.

Paul Barnes works as editor include WASN’T THAT A TIME (1982, Best Documentary Editing Award from the American Cinema Editors), SAY AMEN, SOMEBODY (winner, Best Documentary, Boston Film Critics) and THE THIN BLUE LINE (1988 Best Documentary Award, New York Film Critics). Paul was editor of Ken Burns’s Oscar-nominated STATUE OF LIBERTY, beginning a 25-year collaboration that resulted in THE CIVIL WAR (1990, highest rated series in public TV history and winner of 40 awards); BASEBALL; EMPIRE OF THE AIR: THE MEN WHO MADE RADIO; THOMAS JEFFERSON; the ten-part JAZZ series; THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY and THE VIETNAM WAR.

Born in Mexico City,  Mara Fortes is a researcher and a curator. She holds a B.A. in Film and Media Studies from Swarthmore College and is currently a doctoral candidate in Cinema and Media Studies at The University of Chicago (Dissertation: Cinema Atmospherics and the Spatial Uncanny). She works as a curator for the Telluride Film Festival, programs for the Ambulante Documentary Film Festival (Mexico), and is the head curator at the audiovisual department “Cine más allá” of the Center for Digital Culture (Mexico). She has curated programs for Museo Reina Sofia (Spain) La Otra Bienal (Colombia), and London MexFest (UK).