Conceived as an epic tableau of Mexican life, the film is the dramatic portrayal of Mexico and her rootedness in myths and history. It reflects aspects of the ancient Mayan civilisation, the Spanish conquest and the modernising mythology of the Mexican Revolution. ¡Que viva México! is Eisenstein's homage to Mexico and the struggle of its indigenous people for social and political emancipation. No other country in the world has had the privilege to be depicted on film with such deep understanding as Mexico has been by Eisenstein.
¡Que viva México!, as Eisenstein had planned it, was to consist of six interdependent episodes. Their relationship was based on a poetic association of ideas and visual concepts which were to be united in a grand montage. The film explores the simultaneity of past and present in Mexico, its ancient landscapes and cities and their inhabitants. Eisenstein’s vision evolved during his travels throughout the country. His inspired vision was photographed by the greatest cameraman of his time, Eduard Tissé, achieving scenes of archetypal intensity. There are pastoral scenes of peace under the shadows of the Volcanoes, enactments of the Easter sacrifice between the ancient pyramids, the celebration of death in the festivities of the Day of the Dead and tragic scenes of an uprising on a hacienda in Central Mexico. Eisenstein's cinematic language combines the naturalistic depiction of Mexican life with the monumentality of a historical film drama.