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Live Film Scores – Eisenstein’s “Que Viva Mexico” & Edison’s “Frankenstein”
November 17, 2019 @ 12:00 am - 1:30 am PST$10.00
Joel Jerome, Jimi Cabeza de Vaca and Bill Baird perform live scores to Sergei Eisenstein’s unfinished masterpiece ¡Que viva México!, as well as the first ever filmed adaptation of Frankenstein, from 1910 by the Edison Manufacturing Company.
Having revolutionized film editing, Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein emigrated west in hopes of testing the capabilities of the American film industry. Quickly ostracized from Hollywood, Eisenstein (at the urging of author Upton Sinclair) wandered south of the border where they began filming a highly stylized documentary on the people and volatile social climate of Mexico. The film was unfinished until 1979, when it was assembled using Eisenstein’s extensive notes and sketches as reference.
With sequences devoted to the Eden-like land of Tehuantepec, the savage majesty of the bullfight, the struggles of the noble peasant and the hypnotic imagery of the Day of the Dead, Qué Viva México! is a vivid tapestry of Mexican life, blend of the ethnographic, the political, the scenic and the surreal.
Shot in three days, the 1910 Frankenstein, the first motion picture adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic, was filmed at the Edison Studios in the Bronx, New York City. Some sources credit Thomas Edison as the producer. For many years, this film was believed to be a lost film. In 1963, a plot description and stills were discovered published in the March 15, 1910 issue of an old Edison film catalog, The Edison Kinetogram. In the early 1950s, a print of this film was purchased by a Wisconsin film collector, who did not realize its rarity until many years later. Its existence was first revealed in the mid-1970s, and although somewhat deteriorated, the film was in viewable condition, complete with titles and tints as seen in 1910.