The Mexican Revolution as Soviet Propaganda (and no sex)

 <br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent: 0.5in;"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">Que Viva Mexico</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;"> was filmed in 1931 and directed by Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein in Mexico.&nbsp; The film consists of five vignettes, however it was supposed to contain six, but the fifth was never filmed.&nbsp; This happened because the film’s main backer, Upton Sinclair, pulled Eisenstein’s funding and confiscated the film, because Sinclair believed that Eisenstein was abusing his funding to stay in Mexico and not return to Soviet Russia. (Robe 20) It is clear from early on in the film that Eisenstein is trying to create a film about the triumph of communism over capitalism.&nbsp; The film was basically one large montage that was supposed to “show how revolution depends upon the collective will of the people to join forces and transcend the constraining patriarchal, capitalist ideologies of modern Mexico. The individual, although an important factor for revolution, must unite himself or herself with collective action for any significant structural change to take place.” (22)</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent: 0.5in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">Eisenstein used mainly ideational montage (that he supposedly invented) in which “two separate images are brought together and their juxtaposition gives rise to an idea which shows how they are linked, rather like the tenor and vehicle of a metaphor.”&nbsp; (Hart 20)&nbsp; That is what he creates in the film; a string of visual metaphors that show the audience what he wants them to see.&nbsp; What he wants people to see is the peasants of Mexico win their freedom from their capitalist oppressors.&nbsp; This is most vividly seen in the fourth vignette entitled “Maguey”, which focuses on a peon named Sebastian wanted revenge against plantation-owner boss who has Sebastian’s future wife raped.&nbsp; The larger scope is seen when the landowner and his men are juxtaposed with the portrait of then capitalist dictator Porfirio Diaz. (21)&nbsp; The metaphor is incomplete, however, because the fifth vignette entitled “Soldadera” could not be completed.&nbsp; </span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 0in; text-indent: 0.5in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">Capitalism is not the only target of Eisenstein’s communist metaphor.&nbsp; The Catholic Church is also set up in the film as another one of the main oppressors of the Mexican people.&nbsp; According to Robe, however, Eisenstein seems to be both demonizes and “celebrates: the religion of the elite Catholic minority imposed upon the lower class and the religion of the people who appropriate Catholic iconography for their own purposes.”&nbsp; (26)&nbsp; Apparently “Eisenstein saw that Catholicism is harmful when controlled by the few but potentially liberatory when used by the masses.” (26) &nbsp;The scene that best illustrates this takes place at the end of “Maguey” when Sebastian is executed for inciting a rebellion against the landowner.&nbsp; Sebastian and two of his comrades stand atop a hill reminiscent of the crucifixion, with Sebastian standing in for Jesus.&nbsp; The three a forced to dig chest-high holes which they are partially buried in and the trampled to death by the horses of the landowners men.&nbsp; The epilogue could also reinforce this, because it shows the people celebrating the Day of the Dead and the “death” of their former oppressors.</span></div><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="216" src="" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Comrade Judging Dog finds you GUILTY! Da. </td></tr></tbody></table><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 0in; text-indent: 0.5in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">In the end Eisenstein envisioned what could have been an excellent propaganda film, which compared to the other films shown in class contains surprisingly no sex.&nbsp; Unless you count the rape of Sebastian’s future bride of course.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent: 0.5in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp; </span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent: 0.5in;"><br /></div><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='' alt='' /></div>