Eisenstein in Guanajuato

Director: Peter Greenaway

Country: Netherlands/Mexico/Finland/Belgium

Runtime: 105 min

Festival year: 2015

Eisenstein in Guanajuato

Genre(s): Drama

“The greatest film practitioner we’ve ever seen” is how Peter Greenaway refers to Sergei Eisenstein, the 20th century creator of the masterpieces Battleship Potemkin and October. Here, Greenaway offers us his own sumptuous rendition of the director’s 1931 trip to Mexico to shoot Que viva México (which was never completed)— when Eisenstein fell in love, and into distraction, with his appointed guide, Palomino Cañedo. High camp treatment blends with masterfully-shot scenes of Eisenstein rolling in luxurious beds, vomiting in alleyways, and cavorting with Frida Kahlo. And likely the best sex scene ever committed to celluloid that blends seduction and dominance with a turning-the-tables soliloquy on self-determination and colonialism—and a gorgeous drop of olive oil. Irreverently spanning the themes of queer lives, art, and sacrifice in the name of love and nation, Greenaway offers a middle pointer to contemporary homophobia and state control (especially in the direction of the Russian state that prides itself on Eisenstein’s legacy). To quote the Eisenstein of the film: “I came to Mexico a virgin and I leave it debauched… someone has opened a door to a wet and weeping, dirty hurricane.” Greenaway catalyzes a storm worth watching. Eisenstein in Guanajuato is not to be missed.