Que Viva Mexico!

The film, Que Viva Mexico! portrays parts of the history of Mexico through the eyes of a Russian director, Sergei Eisenstein. He began the project in 1930 and  was not able to complete it. Eisenstein divided the project into 7 different parts. The sections are narrated and show the history with stories. The stories are connected, but not with characters and plots. He used different stories from different parts of Mexico to show the varying traditions and ways of life. Some stories had happy endings others ended tragically. The Hart article makes sure to point out in the beginning that it is only fair to know Eisenstein never finished the film himself so we really can’t know where exactly he may have been going with it. But with the contents he had already had recorded it seemed as though he had only wanted to highlight how Mexico really was. It does not seem as though he was looking to portray it any different in Hollywood.

Eisenstein shot with a lot of creativity. It would appear to be a documentary, but he gave it more life. Instead of just narrating with facts he was able to capture emotion. For example in the second section: Tehuantepec, the main character Concepcion was able to complete her gold necklace so that she could get married, but while dancing with her new husband the film shows her looking sadly at the lost little boy crying. This may show symbolism to her inner fear of becoming a woman. How we live today stems from the past. What Eisenstein may have been trying to capture and share shows his viewers that even the happy times have not been easy for anyone. The prologue did not have a story, it only showed pictures and a silent funeral. And in another section, The Maguey Cactus, told an entire story in complete silence, without any narration. He was able to take the viewer back to that time, accurately, and make an emotional connection without narrating the facts or plot.

Although it seems that the film accurately portrayed the historical events at this time, it also appears that Eisenstein wanted to push the limits in Hollywood and show the film with a different style, montage. According to the Robe article, the leftist’s critique to the film was that Eisenstein was trying to challenge Hollywood by showing something radical. Hollywood feared that Eisenstein’s work would change the way their audiences wanted to view films. The Robe article discusses the pros to the montage style, one being that it was  easier for Eisenstien to connect all of his content. Eisenstein is fair in showing the good times – the marriages, the festivals, and ceremonies, but at the same time he is also realistic when he shows the sad truth of how the women were treated – being raped, working hard to provide for their families, or being killed in the line of fire.