20,000 Species of Bees

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BBFC Ratingf-rated Film20,000 Species of Bees

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Director(s)Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren
Writer(s)Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren
LanguageSpanish, Basque, French
Running Time2HR 9MINS
Extra InfoEnglish subtitles
SeasonMain Programme

Estibaliz Urresola’s delicate debut feature is a tender, heartfelt drama about an eight-year-old’s indelible summer holiday of self-discovery.

Sofía Otero plays a trans girl, who rejects her given name Aitor, perplexed by the gender binaries that rule her world, where boys and girls are divided at playtime, and relatives chide her long hair. An inquisitive soul with a thirst for knowledge, she loves to learn new words and skills, and questions why she doesn’t feel certain of who she is when it seems so easy for her older siblings.

Ane (Patricia López Arnaiz), her mother, takes the children back to her hometown in the Basque Country for the summer, where Cocó spends hours with her great aunt, the village beekeeper, watching her work and asking her to define unfamiliar terms. It’s here that Cocó feels most free to be herself. While Ane is well-meaning, she is distracted by her own troubles, and is going through an identity crisis of her own.

Reminiscent of Céline Sciamma’s Tomboy in its considered authenticity, 20,000 Species of Bees offers a child’s eye view of growing up, delving into its lead’s struggles with humanity and grace. The film's young star Sofía Otero won the Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance at 2023’s Berlin Film Festival.

"Lucía’s story of gender identity offers a compassion that is too rarely seen in reality, making its impact more profound." Little White Lies

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