Que viva Mexico!

               This film was probably one of the most interesting and unique films so far. Que viva Mexico is an intriguing film that delves deep into the heart of Mexican culture, going back to the times of the pyramids through the Mexican Revolution. Sergei Eisenstein does this in a way that is quite unique and not like many other movies out there today. He goes about this difficult task by using no actors or script, with a simple but straight forward and informative narration explaining Mexico’s past up to the present. This gave it the feel of a true Mexican style film. Eisenstein truly wanted to capture the essence and beauty that is Mexico. It took Sergei much longer to collect the film he wanted and settle on a specific idea for the plot. This had to be funded by a small group of investors including Upton Sinclair who together founded the Mexican Film Trust. Running on a smaller budget and behind schedule Eisenstein settled on a four-part film that focused on different key eras in Mexico’s history. This ended up being seven different sections in the final product. The idea was to not focus on a central character or story line and instead find the underlying ideals and themes that have occurred time and time again throughout the Country’s history. Even though Eisenstein was not able to complete his work, Grigory Alexandrov published the work in 1979. Grigory did his best to follow Eisenteins original planning and theme and did an excellent job of portraying the real story of Mexico and it’s rich cultural history.
              The first section of the film focuses on the incredible Aztec temples that were constructed by the ancient ancestors there. This was an incredible feat for any civilization to accomplish, but even more so for the time period it was constructed. The film focuses on the culture and people that inhabited this land, and more specifically on their changing beliefs throughout the course of history. Eisenstein uses camera angles and dramatic backdrops to express his views of societal rank, while moving from one section of film to the next. A good example of this is the man filmed from below sitting on the edge of the pyramid next to a carved face that resembles his features remarkably well. The upward facing camera angles exemplifies the high ranking status of the Aztec man without using any words. It is a perfect reminder of where Mexico came from and where they are going. Much of the culture that was around in the time of the Aztecs was adopted and shaped in with the modern day Catholicism that dominates the area today. As the film moves on to it’s latter sections the film focuses on a hacienda complex being run by workers. According to Meyer and Sherman in their writing, The Course of Mexican History, this was a very accurate portrayal of the laborers that would have worked on any hacienda. Meyer goes in depth telling of the mistreatment received by the laborers and virtually intolerable conditions they had to live in day in and day out. He even speaks of “Corporal punishment and sexual violations of young women is common place on the haciendas”.
             Unfortunately the film was quite an accurate portrayal of what actually occurred during this period of turmoil in Mexico’s past. Eisenstein is ultimately trying to show that the power of the country lies in the individual, not just the elites that have run Mexico ruthlessly in the past. This is done by showing the revolt on the hacienda in the sixth scene, and eventually onto the revolution that took place in Mexico. Ending with the Day of the Dead was a symbolic reminder that the laborers had not lost the battle and would be remembered forever for their heroic actions. The Day of the Dead is a yearly celebration that reminds the current generation of the past struggles and ultimate victory over their former oppressors. The film ends with an inspiring notion that it is up to the people today to share there voice and step up to make Mexico the country they truly want it to be. In the end this film was a very accurate picture of how Mexico has evolved as a whole, and tells how they have come to where they are today. Ending the film by showing the strength and influence that the women and children of the country hold, shows that the future of Mexico is firmly within their own hands. Although Eisenstein did not get to finish the film himself, Grigory did a great job of showing the amazing people and rich history that make up Mexico’s story.