Death Day - Sergei Eisenstein

Rental Format(s): Digital File

Co-makers: Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Alexandrov, Eduard Tissé, and Sol Lesser
Production: Mexican Picture Trust, Principal Pictures
Original format: 35mm silent film 1.37:1
Camera: Eduard Tissé
Edit: Carl Himm
Courtesy: Filmmakers Showcase

One of three films released by Upton Sinclair through producer Sol Lesser, Death Day is comprised of footage shot by Sergei Eisenstein for his unfinished film Que viva Mexico! This short subject focuses on the Day of the Dead festivities and is an homage to the artist José Guadalupe Posada. Though Eisenstein did not edit this film, his exquisite sense of Mexico and its people, culture and traditions are clearly evident. -Bruce Posner

Eisenstein intended to make a film symphony, a film serape or Diego Rivera Mural of the seventh art. "I wanted to show a timeless Mexico where the past was merged with the present'; but the shooting stopped abruptly because the funding was cut, and although they promised to send the material, never received it, and he died without being able to conclude with his own hands one of his great works. -Oswaldo Betancourt

Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein's (1898-1948) name is synonymous with 20th century avant-garde art. The Russian genius created films and film theories based upon an intellectual montage created through a synthesis of cinematography, editing, and later, sound recordings and music. Throughout the world, advanced filmgoers eagerly awaited his films and writings. His influence upon '20s and '30s American cinema was unprecedented, serving as inspiration for amateurs and professionals alike. In 1930, he traveled to the U.S., and then Mexico, in an unsuccessful attempt to make a film. His presence in the Americas stimulated much debate within experimental film circles. -Bruce Posner

Grigori Alexandrov (1903-1983) "A prominent Soviet film director initially associated with Sergei Eisenstein, with whom he worked as a co-director, screenwriter and actor. Their final collaboration together was on the unfinished film Que Viva Mexico! Alexandrov became a major director in his own right in the 1930s with a string of musical comedies starring his wife Lyubov Orlova." -Wikipedia

One of the greatest cameramen of 20th century cinema, Eduard Tissé (1897-1961) worked closely with Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein during a 20-year period. Along with Eisenstein and Grigori Alexandrov, he travelled across Europe and the United States, eventually filming in Mexico for the unfinished epic Que Viva Mexico!. -Bruce Posner

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