Chronicling the life of renowned filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, Peter Greenaway’s latest is something worth seeking out. Having seen Greenaway’s most acclaimed work, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, which is one of my favorites, I was incredibly excited to check out his latest effort, Eisenstein in Guanajuato. I was blown away by Elmer Bäck’s performance here, especially considering the fact that this was his first meaty role. Some of his line delivery feels a little bit off, but I think that is mainly due to the fact that the screenplay isn’t particularly great.
Capturing the opulent sets, cinematographer Reinier van Brummelen’s work here is some of the best I have seen all year. He perfectly captures the film’s opulent set design, but it takes away from the film a lot of the time. While the exaggerated performances are not a problem, the incredibly flashy sets were a problem for me. Along with the camerawork, both seem to be more of a focus than Eisenstein. I found Greenaway’s experimentation with the triple split-screen to work really well here for the most part. While it sort of feels like a reminder that these people truly existed, it was quite interesting to see what Greenaway puts up on the screen.