Wednesday, 24 June 2009

[204] Che Part 1: The Argentine (2008) DVD Review

I first saw the two Che films, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Benicio Del Toro, in a double bill at the Prince Charles Cinema. As biopics, they are surprisingly unique, complex films. I was intrigued, and jumped at the chance to review the DVD releases of them for Den of Geek. Better to help me sort out my response to them. Read the first below.

Argentina-born revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara has the strange distinction of being equally ubiquitous, mysterious and controversial. His standing as a Marxist icon has kept him dangerous and relevant to successive generations of disaffected youths and vanguard lefties alike, irrespective of his face selling more t-shirts and other assorted apparel than Jesus Christ and Manchester United combined. So, it is almost fitting that in making his two-part biopic, Soderbergh decided to keep Che (played by Benicio Del Toro) as a vessel - he is neither vindicated nor condemned, neither analysed nor explained. In this respect, both Che films are crucially different in intention, execution and feel from The Motorcycle Diaries, the 2004 film that dealt with Che's youth, his long road trip around South America, and his political awakening - which at times seemed like a wet dream for humanities students.

Like The Motorcycle Diaries, The Argentine is based on one of Guevara's many written works -- specifically his book Reminiscences Of The Cuban Revolutionary War (Pasajes De La Guerra Revolucionaria), which is concerned with Guevara's experiences with Fidel Castro and his 26th of July Movement, and the lead-up to their successful campaign against the Batista government, from their landing in Southern Cuba in 1956, to the decisive victory in Santa Clara in 1958.

Read the full article here.

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