Six-year-old Ana is a shy girl who lives in the manor house in an isolated Spanish village on the Castilian plateau with her parents Fernando and Teresa and her older sister, Isabel. The year is 1940, and the civil war has just ended with the Francoist victory over the Republican forces. Her aging father spends most of his time absorbed in tending to and writing about his beehives; her much younger mother is caught up in daydreams about a distant lover, to whom she writes letters. Ana's closest companion is Isabel, who loves her but cannot resist playing on her little sister's gullibility.
A mobile cinema brings Frankenstein to the village and the two sisters go to see it. The film makes a deep impression on Ana, in particular, the scene where the monster plays benignly with a little girl, then accidentally kills her. She asks her sister: "Why did he kill the girl, and why did they kill him after that?" Isabel tells her that the monster did not kill the girl and is not really dead; she says that everything in films is fake. Isabel says the monster is like a spirit, and Ana can talk to him if she closes her eyes and calls him.
Ana's fascination with the story increases when Isabel takes her to a desolate sheepfold, which she claims is the monster's house. Ana returns alone several times to look for him and eventually discovers a wounded republican soldier hiding in the sheepfold. Instead of running away, she feeds him and even brings him her father's coat and watch. One night the Francoist police come and find the republican soldier and shoot him. The police soon connect Ana's father with the fugitive and assume he stole the items from him. The father discovers which of the daughters had helped the fugitive by noticing Ana's reaction when he produces the pocket watch. When Ana next goes to visit the soldier, she finds him gone, with blood stains still on the ground. Her father confronts her, and she runs away.
Ana's family and the other villagers search for her all night, mirroring a scene from Frankenstein. While she kneels next to a lake, she sees Frankenstein's monster approaching from the forest and kneeling beside her. The next day, they find Ana physically unharmed. The doctor assures her mother that she will gradually recover from her unspecified "trauma," but Ana instead withdraws from her family, preferring to stand alone by the window and silently call to the spirit, just as Isabel told her to.
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