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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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
i've rated virtually every Greenaway a nine or ten, but this is a three
I've met Greenaway several times. Worked on one of his a projects in a tangential way. His work in the 1980's was without par and quite a bit of his work since is still excellent, although 8 1/2, Pillow don't reach his prior levels -- and Guanajuato in my view is a mess.
I can't recommend enough seeing Nightwatching and then J'Accuse if you want to really delve into a stunning view by one artist of another. I am very much looking forward to Greenaway's treatment of Brancusi, who he has referenced in several films, and not looking forward to the Eisenstein sequel set in Switzerland and the US.
On the film itself I guess the problem is that it neither looks at Eisenstein's work nor brings him to life. Greenway has done hagiographies of a dozen artists, but it gets a bit more uncomfortable with Eisenstein knowing he worked closely with Stalin (not Lenin who was long gone when this film is set) at destroying other artists. We know form recently opened soviet archives that Eisenstein had a side that was a nasty piece of work, promoting himself as a functionary of totalitarianism. And yes we now know that Eisenstein was the consummate sycophant to Stalin in "Ten Days.." essentially overseeing a Goebbels/Riefenstahl-like reinterpretation of the Russian revolution to write in Stalin above Trotsky, Zinoviev and perversely put him on par with Lenin.
Lets not forget that Eisenstein doggedly worked to mock the moderate revolutionary democratic socialists like Alexander Kerensky while slavishly celebrating an enabling Stalin who turned out to be the biggest mass murderer and oppressor in human history. I can't figure out if Greenaway was being ironic in proffering up the scene with the Soviet flag being planted in Eisenstein's bleeding orifice.
I would recommend every Greenaway film except this.
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