ue Viva Mexico is a Soviet-made film about the formation of the Mexican nation, from its roots as the home of the Aztec, Mayan, and Olmec civilizations. The film begins with shots of ancient artifacts from the Aztec and Mayan period. They include stone-work, statues, reliefs, and pyramids. This shows the history of tradition of many of the Mexican culture. Individuals participated in the wedding ceremony. The ceremony incorporated many flowers and floral arrangements, both on the participants and around the ceremony. This is done to honor the plants and other flora that have sustained the indigenous peoples for centuries.
They incorporate much of Spanish culture as well. They are extremely religious due to Spanish colonization. They reenact the death of Jesus by tying themselves to crosses and crawling to the top of a hill to the church. The population’s fascination with bullfighting is another example of the assimilation of Spanish culture in Mexican society.
The Spanish landowners have quite a bit of control over the indigenous Mexicans. One tradition shown in the film was soon-to-be married couples traveling to the hacienda to receive permission to be married. Maria, the newly married woman, was raped and imprisoned by one of the drunken Spanish men. Sebastian, her husband, tried to rescue her, but are forced to flee, eventually captured or shot. The captured rebels, were buried up to their necks and trampled by men on horseback. This anecdote is a microcosm for the larger issue at hand, the oppression and poor treatment of the indigenous Mexicans by the imperialist Spanish.
They have very strong traditions they keep and uphold. The Day of the Dead is a very important holiday in Mexico in which they honor their ancestors, by dressing up in masks and celebrating. They celebrate their triumph over death by making a mockery of the dead. The Spanish elite are shown as skeletons, overcome and vanquished, while the indigenous Mexicans are shown as young, darker skinned individuals that will be the future of the nation.
It is interesting to note that Eisenstein, the original director and visionary of the film did not finish the making of it. It was completed by Grigory Alexandrov in 1979. The articles state that Eisentstein is known for his montages, a feature Que Viva Mexico all but exhausted. The film was slow, but with a painstaking attention to detail. It seems as though many man hours were spent on the filming and editing of the film, as there was no doubt reels and reels of footage filmed by Eisenstein in Mexico.