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Eisenstein in Guanajuato

In his usual eccentric and ultra-cineastic style Peter Greenaway recounts ten days in the life of famous film director Sergej Eisenstein. In the period from October 21st 1931, when he arrives in the Mexican town of Guanajuato to October 31st, the ...


Manic numbers fanatic and visual eccentric Peter Greenaway devotes EISENSTIN IN GUANAJUATO to an episode in the life of legendary Russian director and montage master Sergej Eisenstein who made STRIKE, BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, and ALEXANDER NEVSKY among others. In the early 30s Eisenstein visited Europe in order to study the new talkies after which he took an offer from Paramount in the US. The US film foray does not go well and so Charlie Chaplin brings Eisenstein together with socialist writer Upton Sinclair who agrees to finance his next project: ¡QUE VIVA MÉXICO!, an episodic portrait of Mexico which ended up being Eisenstein’s biggest fiasco. From 1930-1931 Eisenstein shot 50 hours of footage in Mexico but the film would never be completed - at least not by Eisenstein. Peter Greenaway focuses on 10 days from this period, the 21st of October 1931, which was the day of his arrival in Guanajuato, to the 31st of October 1931, the Day of the Dead. Eisenstein’s world changes in these 10 days: he falls in love with his tour guide Palomino Cañedo, has gay sex, discovers excess, and Mexican death culture. The gifted speed talker and cerebral man with the clownish face discovers his sexuality. Peter Greenaway puts all of his love, admiration, and knowledge about the first director he ever looked up to in these 10 decisive days. This means something for someone so eclectic and visually eccentric like Greenaway. EISENSTEIN IN GUANAJUATO is a wild kaleidoscope, grostesque, carnivalesque, a love story, an anthology, and a treasure trove of camera angles and montage techniques. The first 10 minutes are filled with color changes, split-screens, frantic editing, and overlaps between documentary and fiction. It probably contains more cinematic finesse than the accumulated art house productions of 2015. And it continues with that pace.

Peter Greenaway will be attending the preview on the 5.11 at 19:30 at filmkunst66!

Toni Ohms

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Mexiko/ Frankreich/ Belgien/ Niederlande/ Finnland 2015, 105 min
Genre: Drama, Love Stories
Director: Peter Greenaway
Author: Peter Greenaway
DOP: Reinier van Brummelen
Distributor: Edition Salzgeber
Cast: Elmer Bäck, Stelio Savante, Maya Zapata
FSK: 16
Release: 12.11.2015


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