¡Qué viva México!

The film ¡Qué viva México! was extremely intriguing and showed a bunch of powerful images of Mexico. After the readings what really interested me was the idea Eisenstein had of six separate sections for a movie project. By taking Mexican history and dividing it up into six sections Eisenstein had the opportunity to do something that had never been done in film history and was a brilliant tactic. By showing Mexican history in various segments instead of all at once better shows the varying history of the Mexican people. Eisenstein(and Alexandrov) is able to show how the Mexican people received various aspects of society from older establishments ranging from the Catholic Church to the Aztec traditions of the native population. The historical manor in which the film is portrayed is very well done. While it is not near the level it would have been on if Eisenstein had finished it, the finished project is promising.

The film was produced by Upton Sinclair along with a group of other financiers. In the readings it talks much of Upton Sinclair and the programs he supported in both internationally and in the United States. He is most known for his novel The Jungle which described the horrors of factory life and what the workers of these factories had to experience. With this in mind it is curious the direction he seemed to intend to take ¡Qué viva México!. The finished project appears as if he wanted it to be a travel film, or one that would just show what Mexico was like to the American people. The beginning of the film is a perfect example of how it can appear to be a travel film. The Deeds article mentions that this isn’t the case at all. Upton Sinclair and his wife supported socialist aspects throughout society and wanted the Soviet film producer to show Mexico in a light which supported their ideals. He gave Eisenstein the discretion to choose in which direction to take the film and this extremely interesting, as it would seem Sinclair would have a more hands on approach. You can see various socialist aspects throughout the film and especially at the end of the film.

The quote by Upton Sinclair dealing with Eisenstein was very interesting. That a successful movie producer would stall time in order to avoid his native nation says a lot about the Soviet Union. Even in societies like the Soviet Union, where popular culture is strictly supervised, movie directors are usually pretty well off in the society. This shows how a communist government can work in a negative light and is the opposite to what Sinclair would want people to think of socialism. If it worked so well then why would a leading person in its society be afraid to go back to that society? Another action which Sinclair does that is completely contradictory to his beliefs is how he used some of Eisenstein’s film in later films. To make profit off of these films is completely capitalistic in nature and the opposite of Sinclair’s socialist ideals. Where Grigori Aleksandrov did finish the film, it is nowhere near as strong a film as would have been finished by Eisenstein.