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Peter Greenaway’s New Movie on Sergei Eisenstein Should Annoy Putin

“Eisenstein in Guanajuato, ” which premiered at the berlin Film festival last month, deals with the late director’s homosexuality.


Famed British film director Peter Greenaway expects to offend the Russian leadership with his latest movie which is about the life of Soviet era Jewish Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein. “Eisenstein in Guanajuato, ” which premiered at the berlin Film festival last month, deals with the late director’s homosexuality.

The movie deals with the period in Eisenstein’s life just after he was rejected by the Hollywood establishment because of his politics. The director then traveled to Mexico in 1931 to consider a film privately funded by American pro-Communist sympathizers, headed by the American writer Upton Sinclair. In Mexico he entered into a gay affair which the film portrays in detail.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has been very vocal in his criticism of homosexuals and Russia has been less than enlightened in recent years in how it treats its LGBT community.

“Putin has encouraged this homophobia, ” Greenaway said. “I have lots of friends in St Petersburg and Moscow and they don’t feel [homophobic] at all. It’s just a political and social phenomenon invented by a man who’s shit scared and wants to be in control and doesn’t want to be regarded as a European anymore.”

Greenway said of his film’s subject, “I always felt Eisenstein’s first three films were very different from the last three — why? I think the answer to that is, when you go abroad, you become a different person.”

“He was away from paranoia, from Stalinist persecution and really strange political eccentricities, and he was faced with a very brand new and different society. There’s a lot of evidence he freed up, and became much more empathetic to notions of the human condition.”

Eisenstein is probably best known internationally for his film about the Russian revolution “Battleship Potemkin.”

Due out this summer, “Eisenstein in Guanajuato” will star Elmer Bäck in the lead role. It will be followed next year by a sequel “The Eisenstein Handshakes.”

Peter Greenway has directed almost 70 movies, including many documentaries. He is probably best known for 1989’s gross out “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.”

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