This historical take on Sergei Eisenstein’s time in Mexico in the early thirties is a riveting joyride of color and movement.
Director Peter Greenaway does well bringing this story within his world of exuberant intermittence. This art film uses an interesting, mostly unknown, story to showcase its over-the-top aesthetics. If you have not witnessed Greenaway’s previous work, then expect this full-length piece to be an amazing visual experience that is filled with thoughtful wide frames. The composition here is unlike other films of its caliber. Greenaway et al deliberately built a colorful world to enhance its flamboyant story. Often times, the split screens make this film appear to be a shorter project, as if a music video, with multiple interesting, albeit distracting, information coming at once.
The filmmakers use vintage photographs and video content to identify all of the characters and name-dropping in which the main character indulges often. Not to mention that this painting-esque world moves and spins, creating an otherworldly experience; this may not be the most enjoyable thing to watch if motion-sickness is something to avoid.
One of the most refreshing choices of this film, which has become a staple for Peter, is its usage of nudity. From the very beginning, the film indulges in treating the audience with a sense of trust and unabashed comfort. This uninhibited nudity enhances the main character’s infantile tendencies, and the sensuality between the characters, which brings a sense of maturity lacking in cinema these days, especially concerning male nudity, and homoerotic story telling.
Since Elmer Back and Luis Alberti carry most of the film with their performances as Eisenstein and Palomino Cañedo, it is important to note that their chemistry and inhibition are a delight to witness throughout the telling of the story. Elmer is lively and full of energy as he depicts an obviously unraveling man. Then, there is Luis’ seductive and pensive demeanor, creating a balance, which is both necessary and utterly delicious.
Eisenstein in Guanajuato is playing at the [[Portland Queer Film Festival]] as the opening film, before the opening night party, on Friday, October 2nd, at 7PM. The festival is partnering with Cinema 21, in the Pearl District.
It will also come to Maryland and Virginia during the autumn. First at the AFI Silver Theater, in Silver Spring, Maryland on October 4th. Then, the Virginia Film Festival on November 5th in Charlottesville, Virginia.
More GLBT content:
Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine (documentary) : Out in The Night (documentary) : Kumu Hina (documentary) : Lilting : PRIDE : The Way He Looks : Southern Baptist Sissies, the movie : Ne Te Retourne Pas (short)
More on Eisenstein in Guanajuato:
After an exciting, but unsuccessful, visit around the United States, Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein was contracted to make a film in Mexico. Since his contract with Paramount Pictures ended due to lackluster interest from the studio heads, Sergei’s contact with Charlie Chaplin enabled him to be supported by investors, later named the Mexican Film Trust. This group was fronted by Mary Sinclair.
Upon his arrival in Guanajuato, Eisenstein socialized with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and whilst creating the desired six-part film project of Mexican revolution, explored his homosexuality. His companion and guide in Guanajuato, Palomino Cañedo, a professor of comparative religions, became a much needed distraction as the filmmaker went over his head to extend and finish a project for which there was no real story-boarding.
Other revisited queer cinema: Almost Normal : Adam and Steve : Un Chant D’amour : The Boys In The Band : The Next Best Thing : Naked Fame : Saturday Night At The Baths : Can’t Stop The Music
Other film Reviews: Halina (short) : EK (short) : Despite The Gods (documentary) : Materica (short) : Lawrence and Hollowman, the movie : No Strangers (documentary) : Meth Head, the movie : Echoes (short) : Titans of Newark (short) : A Cure (short)