Recently I have begun to post entries under the headline- Songs To While Away The Class Struggle By-that will include progressive and labor-oriented songs that might be of general interest to the radical public. I have decided to do the same for some films that may perk that same interest under the title in this entry’s headline. In the future I expect to do the same for books under a similar heading.-Markin
DVD Review (2011)
This year is the 58th Anniversary of the July 26th Movement's Moncada attack, the 52nd Anniversary of the Cuban revolution and the 44th anniversary of the death of Ernesto, “Che”, Guevara in the wilds of Bolivia. Defend The Cuban Revolution! Free The Cuban Five!
Che, starring Bernico Del Toro, 2008
The first paragraph and other portions of this review have been used in other DVD reviews of Che Guevara and fit here as well:
"On more than one occasion I have mentioned that "Che" Guevara, as icon and legend, despite his left Stalinist politics (at best) and the political gulf that separated him from those who fought, and fight, under the banner of Leon Trotsky and the Fourth International, was, and is, a justifiably appealing revolutionary militant for the world's youth to consider. A number of films have come out over the years that portray one or another aspect of the "Che" personality. Here the central thrust of the film is the creation of "Che" as a revolutionary cadre in the guerrilla warfare movement that dominated much of the radical political action of the 1960s, in the wake of the success and survival of the Cuban revolution in the face of American Yankee imperialism."
Unlike other films of Che`s exploits that have been reviewed in this space this monster, two-disc, four and one half film is strictly a homage to his skills as a revolutionary guerilla fighter out in the bush first in the hills of the Sierra Maestre in Cuba and then, tragically and fatally, in rural Bolivia. Some footage is thrown in, seemingly as relief, from interviews and an occasional speech but the heart of the film, and probably the reason that Che will long be remembered by generations of youth is that fight to turn himself from a "rich kid" doctor to a struggler against imperialism wherever he found it.
That story, whatever, the political differences we might have is appealing. What is not, in a long film, is the concentration on every military maneuver and every action in every campaign in Cuba and Bolivia. This short changes Che as a political man with definite politic views, hard views about the nature of the future communist society, that came to the fore in the period when he was a Cuban state official and responsible for helping to run the government under the guns, real and economic, of American imperial attack.
In that sense this film does not work. Moreover, in contrast to Eduardo Noriega's "Che" in which that actor in his mannerisms, his good and manly looks, and in his earnestness (no pun intended) to free the Americas of the Yankee "beast" was Che. Bernico Del Toro's seems a bit ponderous. However, the film is saved a bit when "Che" and Del Toro are reprieved in the Bolivia-centered second disc when we get a better look at his determination to end up where he started, as a guerrilla fighter extraordinaire fighting against the world's injustices.
That, my friends, today is refreshingly appealing. That said though, Che deserved a better fate that to be caught out in the bush in Bolivia. And here, as I have noted elsewhere, is where the irony (and the political differences) between us comes in. What the hell was he doing in the Bolivian bush, of all places in Bolivia when they was a working class (mainly miners) who had a history of extreme militancy and readiness to do class battles against the state (and have done so since then). Che, mainly deserves his status as icon, as a personal exemplar, but a whole generation of militants in Latin America and elsewhere got torn up to no purpose based on that wrong strategic assumption. That is the real lesson of the film.