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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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
When I was waiting for the movie to start, I was wondering why so many gay couples had come in to see it. However this was all explained as soon as the movie started.
This film indeed is not about Eisenstein making a film (we see very little to nothing of that), or about his time in Mexico: except for some beautiful shots of nature and some dead masks and philosophical bladibla which has been taken totally out of context and are never truly deepened, there is little to no true interaction with Mexican culture. All conversations except for a very small amount are in English.
No, this movie is all about the male body and, to put it frank, gay anal sex. Yes, indeed the butt-loving Eisenstein receives from his Mexican guide Cañedo is probably his most profound encounter with the Mexicans, and for the rest of the movie the two characters do little else than run around naked with their willies flopping up and down. Other characters do appear in the movie but get no real chance at any story or development. The prime example of this are the American brother and sister who barge into Eisenstein's hotel room towards to end of the movie. This is actually the moment that the viewer discovers that Eisenstein has already been in Mexico for 8 months shooting a movie with American funding, something quite essential but completely discarded during the first part of the picture.
The most annoying part of the film was certainly the vertiginous camera work. In the scene in the hotel room just described, the camera spins for about 5 minutes around the bed with a half-naked Eisenstein in it. I had to actually close my eyes as I felt the whole scene was making me sick. The vomiting and diarrhea scenes at the start of the movie had already done the same thing.
In other words, for those profoundly into male nudity and gay cinema, I would recommend to go and see this film; otherwise, you'll probably have some other place you'd rather be.
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