EISENSTEIN IN GUANAJUATO BY PETER GREENAWAY
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.
Traveling to see the celebrated Museum of the Dead in Guanajuato, with a view to filming it, Eisenstein intends spending just a few days in this beautiful town, founded and built on the silver mining boom of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Bruised by his American experiences, aware of antagonisms towards him in an ever-growing Stalinesque Soviet Russia, homesick, lonely, and still reeling from the heavy polemic responsibilities of his Russian films, he is confronted with new ways of mythological thinking - far removed from European traditions. He discovers early 20th century ideas around the myth of the noble savage, the myth of the innocent life, and the raw realities of physical love and death. He is deeply shaken by what he finds.
Against this backdrop, susceptible to the tender friendships of his Mexican associates, disturbed by the beauty of the city, and increasingly conscious of the past pain suffered by Mexicans under first the Spanish, and then the Americans, he falls in love with a married Mexican. Eisenstein spends 10 sensuous days – marked off days, numbered days, one by one - in the city, that deeply changes him, emotionally and spiritually as well.
2015, 105 minutes
Berlinale 2015 (Competition)
Directed and written by
Submarine, Fu Works and Paloma Negra Films
Director of Photography
Reinier van Brummelen
Elmer Bäck - Sergei Eisenstein
Luis Alberti - Palomino Cañedo
Maya Zapata - Concepción Cañedo
Rasmus Slätis - Grisha Alexandrov
Jakob Ohrman - Eduard Tisse
Lisa Owen - Mary Craig Sinclair
Stelio Savante - Hunter Kimbrough
Director & Screenwriter - Peter Greenaway
Produced by - Submarine, Fu Works & Paloma negra films
Co-produced by - Edith Film, Potemkino, Mollywood
Producers: Bruno Felix & Femke Wolting
San Fu Maltha
Cristina velasco l.
Co-producers - Liisa Penttilä-Asikainen
Peter de Maegd
Guy & Wilfried van Baelen
Karin S. De Boer
With the support of
Netherlands Film Fund, The Netherlands Film Production Incentive of the Netherlands Film Fund, Estímulo Fiscal Art. 226 de la LISR (EFICINE), the Finnish Film Fund, Enterprise Flanders, Screen Flanders and Flanders Audiovisual Fund, Tax shelter of the federal government of Belgium and tax shelter investors, MEDIA Programme of the European Union
IN ASSOCIATION WITH: ZDF/ARTE, VPRO, YLE.