SIFF Says:In 1931, the great Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein drove from California to Mexico in order to make a film privately funded by the likes of Upton Sinclair and Vladimir Lenin. What occurred over the next week and a half is nothing any film student reads about while studying the Odessa steps scene in BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN. Eisenstein immediately developed a strong fascination with the country, as well as with the handsome Canedo, a tour guide assigned to show him around his new environment. EISENSTEIN IN GUANAJUATO illustrates the eccentric director’s personal, sexual awakening and symbolic rebirth over 10 days in Guanajuato, Mexico. Peter Greenaway stylishly combines black-and-white and color, new and archival footage, slapstick comedy, and jaw-droppingly beautiful baroque sets in this peculiar biopic of one of cinema’s earliest auteurs.
Those familiar with the work of the English director of Peter Greenaway (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife
) will not be surprised to learn that his biopic of the early 20th century Russian director of Sergei Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin
--baby carriage rolling down the steps) is quite over the top. Set in Mexico in 1931, the film is basically about the director’s artistic and spiritual transformation by way of sex with a man. The scene, which happens in a hotel room with a grand bed, involves a handsome Mexican, olive oil, and anal blood. And because Peter Greenaway is Peter Greenaway, the scene is very long and pretty graphic. But it is clear from the beginning to the end of Eisenstein, that Greenaway is very much in love with the subject of his film. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
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