Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture

By Chris RobÉ | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
Eisenstein in America
THE ¡Que Viva México! DEBATES AND
EMERGENT POPULAR FRONT U.S.
FILM THEORY AND CRITICISM

In the early 1930s, a group of U.S. Left film theorists and critics banked their hopes on the mass distribution of Sergei Eisenstein’s ¡Que Viva México! within the United States in order to prove once and for all that modernism was not the sole province of cultural elites but could serve both political and aesthetic revolutionary ends for mainstream audiences. The film’s use of radical montage to expose the relations between the political and the personal, between the individual and his or her socioeconomic context, served as a corrective to the conservative ideology and reified representations of many Hollywood films. Yet as these theorists and critics promoted Eisenstein’s film, they became increasingly aware of Hollywood’s stranglehold on all channels of mass distribution, especially when producers demanded that Eisenstein’s film be reedited in a style that was in more accord with the forms of classical Hollywood cinema. Widespread debates arose in the critical community about the problem of mass distribution in the United States, about the ability of montage to address both social issues and character psychology, and about whether film should shock audiences into intellectual engagement or use emotional identification with characters to prevent viewers from becoming completely alienated from the subject matter. By examining the influence of Eisenstein’s theoretical articles on U.S. Left film theorists and critics, and these theorists’ and critics’ failed attempts to mass-distribute ¡Que Viva México! we can observe a shift in U.S. Left film theory and criticism from a radical position that was often skeptical of Hollywood’s formal conventions to an emergent Popular Front stance that acknowledged the need of Left films to adopt some commercial conventions in order to gain access to the mass audiences that Hollywood had carefully guarded.

Additionally, this chapter argues that Eisenstein’s Mexican footage reveals how montage could be used to show that political equality depended directly on a radical transformation of gender roles. Although one does not want to underestimate the difficulty of theorizing about such a tentative, incomplete film project, a careful analysis of Eisenstein’s script,

-80-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 298

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.