Victor Erice (born June 30, 1940) is a Spanish film director. Over a career spanning more than four decades, Erice has directed only three feature films and a few shorts. Despite his small output, he is widely considered one of Spain's greatest filmmakers.
Erice was born under the regime of Francisco Franco, shortly after the Spanish Civil War. As a child, he went to the movies to escape from the difficult political situation in Spain at the time. After seeing Italian Neorealist movies such as The Bicycle Thief and Rome, Open City he would realize that a film could be an act of political resistance. He eventually got a job as a film critic before going into directing himself. He would start off directing short films and commercials, eventually getting recognized with his first feature.
This film was The Spirit of the Beehive, about a young girl who becomes obsessed with meeting Frankenstein's monster. The film, made in 1973 when Franco was still alive, was a critique of the current regime which almost got it banned by the censors. The film was only allowed to be shown because it received a positive reception in other countries and the censors assumed no one would bother watching a slow-paced art film. The film is now often called the greatest Spanish film of the seventies.
A decade later, he would return to the theme of childhood with The South. The film chronicles the complicated relationship between a young girl and her father with a mysterious past.
His third, made another decade later, was The Quince Tree Sun (also known as Dream of Light). Unlike his previous two features, this one was a documentary, following the painter Antonio Lopez Garcia as he attempts to paint a quince tree that grows in his backyard.
- Chiaroscuro: Erice's visual style, which features a very precise use of light, has been compared to painters such as Caravaggio.
- Leave the Camera Running: Erice favors very long takes, something he credits to the influence of Kenji Mizoguchi.
- Transatlantic Equivalent: His small output and beautiful visuals have caused comparisons to Terrence Malick. Interestingly, both of their debut features premiered in 1973.