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Eisenstein In Guanajuato 

Wednesday, Mar 23 2016
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Peter Greenaway's work has never been what you'd call "accessible," but his new film Eisenstein In Guanajuato has the potential to be his first film to appeal to a wide audience — or at least it would were it not for all the nudity and penises and gay sex. The picture follows cinema pioneer Sergei Eisenstein (Elmer Bäck), director ofBattleship Potemkinand other films you've never watched but whose influence you›ve felt, as he spends 10 days in the title city shooting ¡Que Viva Mexico!, a film doomed to remain unfinished. But Greenaway is less concerned with the making of the film (which we never seen Eisenstein working on) than with Eisenstein's liberation as he finally explores his homosexuality, his native guide Palomino (Luis Alberti) quite graphically taking his virginity at the same age at which Christ was crucified. Sex and death are never far apart in a Greenaway film, but he's also rarely had as exuberant a protagonist as Bäck's flibbertigibbet Eisenstein. Greenaway kicks his long-standing love of split screens and superimpositions and all manner of optical trickery into overdrive, some of which is so fakey you can see the greenscreen around Bäck's explosion of hair. It's clearly artificial, but it generates an emotional response. Sergei Eisenstein himself would have approved.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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