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Eisenstein in Guanajuato (2015)

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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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Peter Greenaway

Writer:

Peter Greenaway
2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Elmer Bäck ... Sergei Eisenstein
Luis Alberti Luis Alberti ... Palomino Cañedo
José Montini José Montini ... Diego Rivera
Cristina Velasco Lozano Cristina Velasco Lozano ... Frida Kahlo
Rasmus Slätis Rasmus Slätis ... Grisha Alexandrov
Jakob Öhrman Jakob Öhrman ... Eduard Tisse
Sara Juárez ... Mercedes
Alaín Vargas Alaín Vargas ... Gideon
Maya Zapata ... Concepción Cañedo
Gustavo Galván Gustavo Galván ... Rolando
Emiliano Morales Emiliano Morales ... Pascal
Anna Knaifel Anna Knaifel ... Pera
Alenka Rios ... Alba (as Alenka Rios Hart)
Lisa Owen ... Mary Craig Sinclair
Stelio Savante ... Hunter S. Kimbrough
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Storyline

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 Peter Greenaway

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Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Spain was only released in 7 theaters. Was released in dubbed version (1 theater) / subtitled version (6 theaters). See more »

Goofs

Eisenstein says Chaplin, Pickford, and Fairbanks were at Universal. They were at United Artists. See more »

Quotes

Sergei Eisenstein: I am a scientific dilettante, with encyclopedic interests.
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Connections

Features Que Viva Mexico (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Montagues Et Capulets (Dance of the Knights)
from the ballet "Romeo and Juliet"
Written by Sergei Prokofiev
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User Reviews

 
Greenaway's self-reflexive, symphonically flamboyant opus can be construed as a nonconformist filmmaker's knowing salute to a free-spirited genius
17 May 2018 | by lasttimeisawSee all my reviews

As the title indicates, this is a biopic inspired by the Mexican days of Soviet Union cinema vanguard Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948), after his sortie into Hollywood proved to be futile, in 1930, he was assigned to make the ambitious but ultimately problematic project QUE VIVA MEXICO in Mexico (the whole ordeal is worthy of its own screen re-enactment), which Eisenstein would later relinquishes, a relatively intact version would only be released posthumously in 1979.

No one would expect Peter Greenaway's treatment to be strictly reverent, although now in his seventies, Greenaway has no hesitation of venturing into the prurient facet of Eisenstein's idiosyncrasy and abandon, preponderantly, the film is a two-hander between Sergei (Bäck) and his Mexican guide Palomino Cañedo (Alberti), to whom Sergei claims to lose his virginity. Sergei's homosexual initiation is explicitly explored in the palatial hotel room he stays, on that vast bed, the sex temple he shares with Palomino, and coins the first ten days in Guanajuato as "Ten Days that shook Eisenstein", a wordplay to his revolutionary pièce-de-résistence OCTOBER: TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD (1928).

Greenaway delights in magnifying Eisenstein's blunt self-reflection and directorial frustration (although it is mostly an interior piece that largely overlooks the filmmaker's onerous field work, excluding a visit to the Mummies of Guanajuato and the institution of the Day of the Dead celebration) through his larger-than-life approach which constitutes operatic ways of utterance, info-dumping sleight-of-hand where real-life footage is rapidly juxtaposed to counterpoint the references in a triptych split-screen, and majestic, but noticeably digitally airbrushed and light-inflected scenography, being put into great use in the flourishes of 360 degree twirling shots and seamlessly edited faux-long shots, etc., all is impressive on a grandiose scale, but also appreciably betrays an overreaching effort to reassure us that he is still at the top of his game.

Under the spotlight is Finnish actor Elmer Bäck's madcap impersonation of a ludic, unprepossessing Eisenstein, sporting a fuzzy, bouffant hairdo à la Einstein, and gives his all to Greenaway's undue caprices, which on the whole leaves the impression that Eisenstein is more hysterical than sympathetic, a clownish figure whose brilliance is very much elusive to moderately stunned audience, a typical case of miscast should be noted. Luis Alberti, by comparison, comes off less scathed owing to his more natural and unaffected "stud" role in the play.

By and large, Greenaway's self-reflexive, symphonically flamboyant opus can be construed as a nonconformist filmmaker's knowing salute to a free-spirited genius who constantly clashes with his times and whose legacy should be incessantly exhumed to meet new light and fresh air, and knock dead any number of spectators.


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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

18 June 2015 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Eisenstein in Guanajuato See more »

Filming Locations:

Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

EUR2,472,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,823, 7 February 2016

Gross USA:

$34,282

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$91,916
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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