Films > Sergei Eisenstein

Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein (1898-1948) was a celebrated Russian film director, whose completed works were Strike (1924); The Battleship Potemkin (1925); October (1928); Old and New (1929); Alexander Nevsky (1938); and Ivan the Terrible Pt. 1 (1944).

"... about the time she must have been acting in those Western pictures M. Laruelle, who had not seen them, adroitly assured one had influenced Eisenstein or somebody." UTV, 77.

Above: Short (5 minute) montage of shots from Que Viva Mexico! (Direct YouTube link here.)

Images above and below courtesy of Mexican Picture Partnership Ltd.'s restoration project of Que Viva Mexico!

Of most relevance to Under the Volcano, however, is the unfinished Que Viva Mexica!, one episode of which came out in 1933 as Thunder Over Mexico, while other footage was incorporated into Death Day, Eisenstein in Mexico, and Time in the Sun. Que Viva Mexico! was to have been an epic representation of Mexico's history, a celebration of the nation's peculiar spirit, placing particular emphasis upon the clashes of life and death, beauty and corruption, freedom and oppression. There were to have been six episodes in all: a prologue, four novels or cameos, and an epilogue set on the Day of the Dead.

Eisenstein himself drew attention to such aspects of his film as the eternal circle, Death Day in Mexico as the day of greatest fun and merriment, and the unmovable law of death and said his film was to be "held together by the unity of the weave – a rhythmic character" (The Film Sense, p. 197).

It is difficult to believe that a director like Eisenstein could have been influenced by the cheap westerns in which Yvonne acted.

Above: A sketched break-down in Eisenstein's preparation of the shooting script for Que Viva Mexico! This page of sketches is a development of the transition passage from the luxuriant tropical matriarchy of Tehuantepac to the harsh landscape and male dominion of the plateau at the feet of Popocatepetl.

Source: Sergei Eisenstein, Film Form and Film Sense. Cleveland: World Publishing Company, 1968.