Che Part 1: The Argentine
Caught the road show performance of this tonight, and I feel the need to seperate both films, as they are so different… though they do work wonderfully as a pair, really complimenting each other thematically. The first explores Che Guevera as a guerilla in Cuba, leading the revolution. It’s matched against his visit to New York in 1964, where he conducts several interviews and speaks before the UN. This film is bombastic, colourful and stylish. It seems inspired in part by cinema of the 60s, especially documentaries. It is raw, though still stands back, allowing the audience to cast judgment instead of the lens. The film is very much involved with Che himself, and as many of the film’s detractor’s note, it sidetracks many of the terrible things he does. It shows a country prepared for revolution, almost begging for it. How it was more than his power as a leader (and of course Castro’s) that brought a revolution, but luck and opportunity. The film really shows the desperation of the situation, as well as the strengths in Guevera’s attitudes. These seem to mostly stem, however, from it’s inexperience and naivity. The film ends shortly before Castro takes power.
Che Part 2: Guerilla
I’m one of the few who prefers Che Part 2, which is set several years later when Che Guevera is now in Bolivia trying to establish a revolution. It’s more grim in style and content, as Guevera is seen as a much older man. He is not seen as someone jaded by power, if anything he’s willing to give it up more than one would expect from a man in his position. He is driven and believe’s heavily in his cause. He is jaded though, in his approach to the revolution, and one seems him often contradicting his statements made in this and the other film. He himself is no longer as driven, and age has taken it’s course, and he is also physically weaker. This film is not as linear as the previous, and has some very strikingly abstract imagery. Soderbergh is unnafraid of juxtaposition, using it to great effect in this case, without ever really being too obvious. This film reveals how circomstantial the Cuban revolution was, and how Bolivia was not the same. It also reveals the sad truth that though “for the people”, the greatest victims of revolution were rarely the soldiers or intellectuals, but the very peasent that were being protected. Though from mostly anecdotal mentions and hints, we are revealed a darker side to even the Cuban revolution, and the film portray’s Che as being still inspirational in that he is the symbol of change, but being a far weaker, even pathetic figure shooting for something that is unatainable.