20,000 Species of Bees
In a small, sleepy village in the Basque Country, a sculptor named Ane and her three children arrive at her mother Lita's home for summer vacation where they are surrounded by extended family and nosy neighbors. Ane and her mother's relationship is strained — Lita disapproves of her daughter's frayed marriage, career as an artist, and the way she parents her obstinate and mischievous children. Chief among them is eight-year-old Aitor, nicknamed Coco after it becomes clear that being referred to by the Aitor elicits feelings of distress in the child. Born biologically male, neither birth name nor the genderless nickname feel quite right, and Ane’s concern for her child grows as Coco becomes more withdrawn. The child’s only respite lies in the Basque hills, where Ane's aunt Lourdes tends to the family's beekeeping farm. Among the peaceful humming of bees and Lourdes' open-minded guardianship, Coco slowly begins to confide in family and friends her discomfort in her body, eventually voicing a desire to be treated as a girl. As Coco explores her own developing identity over the summer, Ane and the rest of her family in turn must learn to accept the child as she is.
Basque director Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren’s assured debut feature is a wonderfully sensitive work carried by the Berlinale Silver Bear winning lead performance of newcomer Sofía Otero. An authentic and heart-wrenching story of transition, 20,000 Species of Bees is "a landmark in the filmic discussion of gender, sexuality and identity," (The Film Verdict).
Director & Cast
- Director: Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren
- Starring: Sofía Otero
- Starring: Patricia López Arnaiz
- Starring: Ane Gabarain
- Starring: Itziar Lazkano