DVD Review (2011)
This year is the 58th Anniversary of the July 26th Movement, the 52nd Anniversary of the Cuban revolution and the 44th anniversary of the death of Ernesto, “Che”, Guevara. Defend The Cuban Revolution
Che, starring Eduardo Noriega, 2006
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.
This little film, really a docu-drama since there is an abundance of black and white newsreel film footage to set the story line throughout most of the 1950s, goes, up close and personal, into the transformation of the Argentine free spirit and free- booter. In short, from the pre-“Che” of the “Motorcycle Chronicles” period into a commandant of the Second Front in the Fidel and Raul Castro-led rural insurgence against the hated dictator (except in Miami) Batista.
In that sense it almost does not work. Eduardo Noriega is “Che” in his mannerisms, his good and manly looks, and in his earnestness (no pun intended) to free the Americas of the Yankee beast. However, the film is saved when “Che” gets to show more aspects of his personality when he is being interviewed by an American women reporter in the post-victory period. And also by his determination to end up where he started, as a guerrilla fighter extraordinaire fighting against the world’s injustices. And an enemy's bullet.
That, my friends, today is refreshingly appealing. That said though, as I have repeatedly pointed out on other occasions, Che deserved a better fate that to be caught out in the bush in Bolivia. And here 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 based on that wrong strategic assumption. That is the real lesson of the film, any worthwhile film on Che.