History 475 Week 5 Que VIva Mexico

 Sergei Eisenstein’s vision is shown through is montage film Que Viva Mexico. Through the film Que Viva Mexico, one important issue that arises is politics. In the early 1930s, the world was in a time of great change. Eisenstein, a Russian, was under great pressure from his home country as well as from his business partner, Upton Sinclair. According to Chris Robe, Eisenstein created some discontent with his partner and investors when he continued demand more money, supposedly to produce his film, but later revealed he was using this funding to reside in Mexico instead of returning to Russia.

In regards to the political issues presented, most of these issues are discovered through the reading. At this time in history, Hollywood had a monopoly on film distribution and editing. With the Hollywood code still in effect, all films were subject to very strict restrictions and editing if the film maker had hopes of mass distribution in America. Eisenstein hoped his montage film outlining the history of Mexico would be mass distributed. According to Robe, Eisenstein dealt with many problems in trying to reach this goal and Hollywood even edited his film so much that produced an entirely different film entitled Thunder over Mexico.

Other political motives for Eisenstein were to portray the distinction between classes in Mexico, the bourgeoisie’s class and the lower classes. He shows this in his film especially with the interaction between the young couple hoping to get married and the wealthy plantation owner. Another issues with this film for Hollywood was the ‘montage’. Hollywood editing made montage films difficult to produce. Eisenstein was not hoping to highlight famous actors or a specific story line, but hoped to show a ‘montage’ of Mexican history. It was almost poetic in his film by using different camera angles to denote who was important and the final scene with smiling children almost symbolizes the future generations that will continue to fight for and utilize Mexican independence.

Although in the 21st Century this film was difficult to watch, it did well to portray what Eisenstein hoped to show and that was a open and bold portrayal of Mexican history. He showed from the earliest conquest to colonial era, and up until modern time, which then was the early 30s. In showing this history and these people and their culture, he did achieve ‘mass distribution’ of a the message he hoped to spread. One aspect of this film that is curious is the fact that Eisenstein was not able to finish the film and his business partner did for him much later. How would this film have looked had Eisenstein been able to finish himself. Had he not had to deal with unbelievable politics of the time, he would have been able to experience the finished product as well as see the film  viewed by much more people.