The Apartment + Il Posto + The Spirit of the Beehive

Triple feature: This is our first triple feature, with “Il Posto” serving as the bridge between “The Apartment” and “The Spirit of the Beehive.”

“The Apartment” and “Il Posto” both carefully titrate sweetness, earnestness, and gentle humor into their narratives, and tell their stories with a mix of old-fashioned charm and mid-century modern verve.

Both films take place within and around large corporations of boxy outlines and vague specifics.  “Il Posto” lavishes attention on the details of its company’s operations, without disclosing its line of business.  By contrast, “The Apartment” advertises its insurance firm (a deliberately intangible industry!) setting, but doesn’t much bother depicting the “work” part of work at its company.

In each film, the depersonalizing corporate atmosphere opens up a space for idealistic romance to move in and soften the edges of the workweek.

“Il Posto” and “The Spirit of the Beehive” are tonally similar depictions of a young soul’s encounter with life’s realities.

Each features a sensitive protagonist – portrayed by actors with angelic faces capable of deep natural expression – revising his/her inner theories of the world’s underlying forces and operating mechanisms during a particularly formative period.

And each tells its story with a depth and delicacy of feeling, and an economy of exposition, that will simply knock your socks off.

For a marathon: Like “Il Posto,” “Bicycle Thieves” is an Italian film that gazes dolefully at the world of work.  Both films also feature a restaurant scene impressively freighted with emotion.

For an expanded take on “Il Posto”‘s final-act flitting through employees’ thoughts, check out the consciousness-eavesdropping in “Wings of Desire.”

(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “avatar-1,” “BenjaminThompson,” and “Eat Hackney” at Flickr)

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