Rejected by Hollywood and facing pressure to return to Stalinist Russia, filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein travels to Mexico to shoot a new film. Chaperoned by his guide Palomino, he experiences the ties between Eros and Thanatos, happy to create their effects in cinema, troubled to suffer them in life.
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Raymond J. Barry,
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From Moscow to Mexico City, Eisenstein was privileged enough to met the cultural heroes of the era and embrace them as compatriots, with a handshake. Such was his reputation as the ... See full summary »
The venerated filmmaker Eisenstein is comparable in talent, insight and wisdom, with the likes of Shakespeare or Beethoven; there are few - if any - directors who can be elevated to such heights. On the back of his revolutionary film Battleship Potemkin, he was celebrated around the world, and invited to the US. Ultimately rejected by Hollywood and maliciously maligned by conservative Americans, Eisenstein traveled to Mexico in 1931 to consider a film privately funded by American pro-Communist sympathizers, headed by the American writer Upton Sinclair. Eisenstein's sensual Mexican experience appears to have been pivotal in his life and film career - a significant hinge between the early successes of Strike, Battleship Potemkin, and October, which made him a world-renowned figure, and his hesitant later career with Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible and The Boyar's Plot. Written by
In Spain was only released in 7 theaters. Was released in dubbed version (1 theater) / subtitled version (6 theaters). See more »
Eisenstein tells his Mexican audience at the beginning of the film that he looks forward to Mexican food, including burritos and chmichangas. Burritos and chimichangas, though featured in U. S. Mexican restaurants, are not known in Mexico nor considered Mexican food by Mexicans in the country. This reveals a glaring oversight in director Peter Greenaway setting the tone and setting of the film accurately. See more »
I read the reviews for this film by the other writers here and some are so spot on and well informed I feel a bit intimidated writing this short review. This film by Director/writer: Peter Greenaway is spellbinding, modern, surreal, and above all, as other writers expressed, captures the inner spirit of Eisenstein's genius.
Just as Guanajuato is geographically located in the center of Mexico this story is focused on Eisenstein discovering his personal center. He wanted to be accepted by Hollywood and they rejected him. In Soviet Russia he glorified the revolution with his film "October" and everyone saw him as an artist but he had to hide the person the artist is. He was a great artist of the cinema but here in Guanajuato Eisenstein finds himself and realizes he doesn't need the approval of his peers to be the person he is. With the companionship of his Mexican guide 'Palomino', performed so wonderfully by Luis Alberti, Eisenstein gives into his own desires, his own needs, and is given the chance (though briefly) to be himself physically, artistically, and intellectually.
If anyone wants to see the art of Eisenstein just find one of his movies and you will be stunned by it's grand yet simple photography and story. If you want to see an element of 'the man' that created these remarkable films catch this movie. Here the artist brakes the shackles others have place upon him. But in the end he must return to Soviet Russia and back to judging eyes that are so symbolically shown throughout the movie by the three Mexican men in traditional dress. They represent the establishment, society, they eyes and minds that judge all who try to be who they really are.
Great cinema for the thinking person!
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