QUE VIVA MEXICO! is a film gem from the early 30’s. In 1927, 2 years afters the release of his amazing revolutionary propaganda film The Battleship Potemkin, Sergei Eisenstein had the pleasure of meeting Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, who was visiting Moscow and who spoke to Eisenstein “obsessively of the Mexican artistic heritage” exposing Eisenstein to the wonders of the ancient art and architecture of Mexico. And 3 years later Eisenstein found himself in Mexico with an amazing film crew on-hand. Filming began immediately and visual imagery was Eisenstein’s main focus, seeing as how they arrived without any sort of script in mind. The film is was originally supposed to be broken into 4 episodes which dramatize and explore different cultures of pre-Conquest era Mexico. Eisenstein filmed for about a year and a half until the funding for the film ran out and production came to a halt, and the film was recut in someone else’s hands. There have been various versions of this film/documentary but in 2001 it was restored to try and recreate Eisenstein’s vision and it was released on DVD by Kino Video….oh yeah!
“Having revolutionized film editing through such masterworks of montage as POTEMKIN and STRIKE, Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein emigrated west in hope of testing the capabilities of the American film industry. Quickly ostracized from Hollywood, Eisenstein, Grigory Alexandrov and photographer Eduard Tisse (at the urging of author Upton Sinclair) wandered south of the border where they began filming a highly stylized documentary on the people and volatile social climate of Mexico.
A blend of the ethnographic, the political, the scenic and the surreal, QUE VIVA MEXICO! is nothing short of brillant and remains superior to the legion of films it strongly influenced: Orson Welles’ IT’S ALL TRUE, Jodorowsky’s EL TOPO and the works of Sergio Leone. With sequences devoted to the Edenic land of Tehuantepec, the savage majesty of the bullfight, the struggles of the noble peon and the hypnotic imagery of the Day of the Dead, QUE VIVA MEXICO! is a vivid tapestry of Mexican life which takes its rightful place alongside Eisenstein’s other legendary works.”
If you can’t find the DVD at the local video store, then you can download it/watch it for free HERE on IMDB.
Below is an excerpt from the film….Check it out!