“Masha Salazkina’s brilliantly researched and interpretive study brings the never completed ¡Que Viva Mexico! to the center of Eisenstein’s work both as a filmmaker and theorist. Examining the rich cultural life of Mexico in which Eisenstein was operating, Salazkina lays out the three-sided circulation of people, artworks, and ideas among Russia, the United States, and Mexico in which Eisenstein actively participated. Salazkina enriches this achievement by showing the prominent roles of women such as Soviet ambassador to Mexico Alexandra Kollontai, cultural impresario Anita Brenner, writer Katherine Anne Porter, and artists Tina Modotti and Frida Kahlo. To Eisenstein’s male-centered world, she counterposes this one and in the process unveils previously unacknowledged aspects of Eisenstein’s theories of sexuality (and sexual experiences) in what must be seen as a breath-taking tour de force.”
(Charles Musser, Yale University)
“An extraordinary work by an expert young scholar, In Excess throws new light on Eisenstein’s unfinished masterpiece, changes dramatically our picture of the famous director’s life and work, and offers a unique glimpse into the culture, art, and mentality of postrevolutionary Mexico.”
(Yuri Tsivian, University of Chicago)
“In Excess is a unique contribution that puts forth a significant argument. Two elements in Masha Salazkina’s approach to Eisenstein—emphases on the transnational and on sexuality—make this argument especially intriguing. Showing that Mexican politics and Mexican motifs were transnational aesthetic crossroads of the period, Salazkina illuminates Eisenstein’s appropriation of Mexican politicized art. She also makes a strong case that gender and especially the figurative displacement of woman were central to Eisenstein’s imagery and conception of the Mexican film. She shows how this film and his time in Mexico were fundamental to the development of Eisenstein’s later theory.”
(Philip Rosen, Brown University)
"Salazkina links Eisenstein's ambitious portrait of a country still in the throes of its own revolution both to the regime's dynamic cultural politics and to visions of Mexico fostered by British and American expatriates like D. H. Lawrence and Anita Brenner. She draws on Marxist authors, e. g., Walter Benjamin, to highlight useful aspects of Eisenstein's method in Que Viva Mexico! and shows how many of Eisenstein's later theoretical ideas, for example about 'protoplasm' and 'bisex,' originated in his yearlong sojourn in Mexico. The excellent bibliography and candid production photos add to this impressive work."
"Necessary reading for students of Eisenstein and of the arts in revolutionary Mexico."
(Tom Aiken TLS