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Film historian to speak about Sergei Eisenstein’s Que Viva Mexico! March 22

Loyola press release - March 4, 2004

As part of Loyola University’s Biever Lecture Series, Dr. Aurelio de los Reyes will present “The Birth of ¡Que Viva Mexico!, the Unfinished Film by Sergei Eisenstein” on March 22. The event will be in Mercy Hall 313, at the corner of Freret and Calhoun streets, at 7:30 p.m. The Department of Modern Foreign Languages is a co-sponsor of the event.

Reyes is a professor of film history at the Universidad Nacional de Mexico, Mexico City. He has been recognized as a pioneer scholar for his many books on the Mexican cinema, among them are three volumes on “Cine y sociedad en Mexico” and one on Delores Del Rio. Reyes is one of the first researchers to apply a methodology of historical analysis to the Mexican cinema.

A master of the early Soviet cinema, Segei Eisenstein was responsible for a group of imaginative and exciting silent films employing rapid, rhythmic montage and a feverish visual invention. Eisenstein was a pioneer in the use of editing. He believed that film editing was more than merely a method used to link scenes together in a movie; he felt that careful editing could actually be used to manipulate the emotions of the audience. His published books The Film Form and The Film Sense explain his theories, and they have been highly influential to many Holly- wood and Mexican directors and postwar Italian neorealists. His narratives addressed broad social issues, especially class conflict.

In 1930, he went to Hollywood where he signed a contract with Paramount but all three of the script ideas he submitted to the studio were rejected. Finally in 1931, the muckraking novelist Upton Sinclair financed a trip to Mexico to shoot this film about the country’s mythic landscape. Sinclair’s money ran out and Eisenstein was called home to the Soviet Union, preventing him from ever finishing the film. He was also prevented from viewing what pieces of the film he had already shot.

For more information about the lecture, contact Professor Josefa Salmon, 865-2692 or email, salmon@loyno.edu.

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