Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein is revered as one of cinema’s founding fathers. So it’s no surprise that Russia – in its crackdown on free expression and its repressive stance on homosexuality – has been touchy about Peter Greenaway’s depiction of the figure in his new feature Eisenstein in Guanajuato, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival last month.
The British auteur director displays his typically transgressive irreverence in depicting the national hero’s 10-day love affair with a male guide in Mexico, offending a Russia that previously celebrated him for decimating capitalist vulgarity in his 1989 masterpiece The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.
At the festival, Greenaway was in cheerful, unapologetic form.
“Putin has encouraged this homophobia,” Greenaway said. “I have lots of friends in St Petersburg and Moscow and they don’t feel [homophobic]