Artikelnummer 182


Sergei M. Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov

MEXICAN FANTASY  (1930):  left unfinished by Eisenstein, the film was highly structured, and was to consist of four "novellas" or "scenarios" plus a prologue and epilogue.   As Bordwell notes, the precise order and content of these episodes "was constantly changing", but "the overall film would trace the history of Mexico from precolonial times through Spanish conquest to contemporary times".   Each episode has its own distinct style, is "dedicated to a different Mexican artist", and  "also bases itself on some primal element (stone, water, iron, fire, air)".   The soundtrack in each case features a different Mexican folk song.  Each episode tells the story of a romantic couple; and "threading through all parts was the theme of life and death, culminating in the mockery of death.  A very rare film, this is not a re-working by another filmmaker, but the original film itself.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  There has been a great deal of controversy over the musical score added later on to this film, with one critic stating that the kindest thing the viewer could do to honor Eisenstein would be to mute the TV when you watch this film.  We agree.  Thus, the musical track has been replaced with one playing traditional Mexican music, which we feel is more representative of the work.  Purists will no doubt be offended, but we feel honoring Eisenstein's memory is more important than presenting the film as was originally edited some 60+ years later with the addition of an offensive sound-effect track.


VAMPYR  (1932):  Allan Gray (despite the film's German title), a youth traveling in the French countryside, puts up at an inn in the surroundings of a solitary castle, near the village of Courtempierre. He begins to see strange sights that are impossible to explain (notably shadows leading a life independent from that of their "owners").   Having been asked for help by the Lord of the Manor, Allan visits the castle and becomes involved in the tragic events that are befalling the family. Leone, the daughter of the Lord of the Manor appears to suffer from anemia, but her father already suspects that her illness is caused by a vampire. The Lord of the Manor dies, seemingly of natural causes, but actually as a result of the actions of the servants of the undead. As Allan reads an old book about vampires, he learns more and more about these creatures, while the fiend continues to assault the young woman.  The vampire turns out to be an extremely evil old woman, Marguerite Chopin, who died in mortal sin and caused a similar epidemic a quarter of a century ago. She is conspiring with the village doctor who helps her to gain access to her victim; her ultimate objective is to cause the victim to commit suicide and thus deliver her to the devil. Eventually, Allan and an old servant stake her, and her servants also die. At the end, Allan is seen leaving together with Leone's sister, Gisele.


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