Eisenstein in Guanajuato


Biography / Comedy / Drama

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 10, 2022 at 03:53 PM


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969.37 MB
English 2.0
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1 hr 45 min
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1.95 GB
English 5.1
24 fps
1 hr 45 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dromasca 8 / 10

at crossroads in Mexico

Peter Greenaway's career is beyond any ambitions of commercial success - his most successful (audience-wise) movies were made in the 80s. Even then the combination of colors and music, architecture (he is an architect by formation) and composition, his obsessions for sex and death and his bluntness in approaching them were much out of the beaten track. For the last two decades his projects became more and more exploratory, with the moving images being only one of the tools in combinations of multi-disciplinary explorations and experiments that brought together almost every artistic discipline that was invented. Eisenstein in Guanajuato can be seen almost as a return to the more conventional tools of film making. It has a story, and it has a hero and it has a theme, one of these themes film makers love to bring to screen, maybe the ultimate film theme - film making!

If you listen to what Peter Greenaway has to tell about his film (and he speaks a lot as he promotes the film in the international festival tour) Eisentein in Guanajuato is before all a homage to one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema who was Sergei Eisenstein. It also is a social and political commentary, as it deals with what was probably the most exuberant, liberal and care-free period in the life of the screen director of the Soviet Revolution, and also with the sexual orientation of Eisenstein which was kind of a well known secret in his biography, tolerated by the Soviet authorities but maybe also a tool of blackmail by the KGB. The period spent by Eisenstein in Mexico while shooting material never gathered and edited for a film about the country and its revolutions may have been the happiest time in the life of the director already famous for Potemkin and October. It allowed him not only a unique encounter with a culture that was so different from some aspects yet so close from other compared with the Russian culture he knew from home, but also an encounter with himself, with his own demons, his self-denied homosexuality, his tendency to the luxury and the decadence of the bourgeois life, so different from the austerity he left in the Soviet Russia and to which he was condemned to return.

There is almost nothing in this film about Eisenstein's film making. At no point does he shout 'Camera!' or 'Action!' - at some moment he even refuses to do so. Peter Greenaway does not try to expose any secrets of the film making art of Eisenstein, but rather deals with the surrounding context that made his films possible. Finnish actor Elmer Bäck brings on screen an Eisenstein who hides his doubts behind exuberance, and his fears behinds carelessness, who is sure of his artistic genius but unaware about his personal charisma. Mexican actor Luis Alberti builds a fine counterpoint to Eisenstein's character and a credible gay love interest. The camera work does not try to replicate anything that Eisenstein has done on screen, but rather quotes and incorporates fragments of Eisentein's movies with the visual commentaries of Greenaway. I read some critical opinions about viewers 'getting tired' by the too intense camera work - I do not agree with them. When what you see on screen is expressive and interesting you cannot get tired, as one does not get tired of seeing more masterpieces in an art museum, or of listening to fine opera or classical music. Sets are as exuberant and as complex as an architect mind like Greenaway's can conceive. Overall Eisenstein in Guanajuato was for me a very satisfying and surprisingly entertaining experience.

Reviewed by peefyn 5 / 10

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).

Reviewed by lasttimeisaw 6 / 10

Greenaway's self-reflexive, symphonically flamboyant opus can be construed as a nonconformist filmmaker's knowing salute to a free-spirited genius

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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