Steven Soderbergh’s epic two-part bio-pic of revolutionary icon Che Guevara garnered a Best Actor award for Benicio del Toro at the 2008 Cannes film festival (and well deserved – Del Toro was terrific as Guevara). Other than that it falls somewhat short of the expectations that the director most likely had for the film. It’s a fascinating re-cap of the Cuban revolution and the fervor of Guevara. Especially in the first part which covers the revolution up to the triumphant convoy into Havana. Part 2 covers the somewhat tragic demise of Che in Bolivia. Guevara, a proponent of ‘exporting’ the revolution to other Latino countries ruled by military dictatorships, found the soil not ready for the movement to thrive in Bolivia. The revolution simply peters out, and Che is left to be 600’d by the Bolivian military.
Soderbergh is relentlessly faithful to the facts as presented in Che’s Bolivian Diaries – to the film’s credit, but also (especially in the second part) to its detriment. There is a passion lacking in the presentation that doesn’t seem to fit with the subject. But I’m a hopeless romantic. At 22, I was still naive enough to believe in the radical transformation of repressive regimes. More than the iconic Alberto Corda of Che, the one that still sticks in my mind is the one of Che after he was assassinated and put on display.
FROM NEWS INTERVIEW OF FELIX RODRIGUEZ
According to Mr Rodriguez’s version of events, the atmosphere was so friendly that Che willingly agreed to the photograph and even laughed when Rodriguez said: “Watch the birdie, Comandante”.
Che Guevara came to Bolivia after trying to foment revolution in Africa
An hour or so after the photo was taken, Che was killed.
Felix Rodriguez received the order from the Bolivian military high command. There was a simple code: 500 meant Che Guevara, 600 dead, 700 alive.
500 – 600 was the command.
Mr Rodriguez wanted confirmation on the crackly radio line. It was repeated: 500 – 600.