Image: Sergei Eisenstein, ¡Que viva Mexico!, 1931–1932, film, 6–8 min. Courtesy Gosfilmofond, Moscow. | © Gosfilmofond, Moscow
Between 1930 and 1932 Eisenstein worked on his film Que viva Mexico! Eisenstein never finished his film, but left nearly forty hours of footage behind. Over the years, the Mexican film became the object of repeated manipulations, the most important of which is the one that Jay Leyda—Eisenstein’s former student—made in 1955: a 225-minute film, Eisenstein’s Mexican Film: Episodes for Study. Here, the “anachronistic syncretism” of Mexican culture re-emerges in ecstatic dances, marked by circular and repetitive rhythms that accompany ceremonies in honor of the Virgin Mary. In a one-hour length screening, fragments of Leyda’s version will be shown, accompanied by a multilingual reading (English, German, Russian, French) of Eisenstein’s unpublished Mexican diaries.
Within an open structure of different disciplines such as anthropology and aesthetics, psychoanalysis and Gestalt psychology, paleontology and linguistics, Eisenstein’s work is a dynamic vehicle that operates by means of montage, emphatic criticism and eccentric transgression of its own positions. In a talk, Elena Vogmann interprets the epistemic and aesthetic vanishing lines of this thinking against the background of her new book “Sinnliches Denken. Eisensteins exzentrische Methode.“.
is a postdoctoral research fellow in the DFG-project “Rhythm and Projection” at the Institute of General and Comparative Literature at Free University in Berlin and free curator. She wrote her dissertation on Sensuous Thinking in Sergei Eisenstein’s theory project Method. She has published various articles on Soviet Cinema, forms of visual thinking, practices of montage and the relations between literature, ethnology, art and science. Together with Marie Rebecchi she curated the exhibition on “Sergei Eisenstein: The Anthropology of Rhythm” at Nomas Foundation, Rome.