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 ...
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An 'essayistic' documentary in which Greenaway's fierce criticism of today's visual illiteracy is argued by means of a forensic search of Rembrandt's Nightwatch. Greenaway explains 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
Editing and visuals: fantastic! Plot and characters: ...
I have not seen any of Greenaway's previous movies, and while I have seen Potemkin, I barley knew anything about (the actual) Eisenstein going in.
What I loved about this movie: The editing is fantastic. It plays around with the format, having real life photos of the characters and the locations next to characters as they are mentioned, playing with angles and positions of the characters, experimenting with colors, and obviously, using montages in a great way. I hope this is all based on Eisenstein's actual writings about the subject, as it is clear that he has thoughts about what movies can do with these tools.
That's the one positive thing I have to say about this movie. The characters are stylized into cartoon characters, and the dialog is boring and unengaging. The actual storyline is very forgettable. Greenaway chose to have the movie focus on Eisenstein's experiences in Mexico, but did not include any of the actual movie-making Eisenstein did there. To me, that would have been a more interesting movie - but I can understand that Greenaway had a different vision for this story.
The sexual scenes were graphical, but not grotesque or provoking (unless you are provoked by homosexuality).
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