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Friday, February 23, 2024

Movie about Che Guevara drew thousands in Cannes

CSMS Magazine Staff WritersCannesFrance – It was an evening to remember the other night here at the Cannes film festival when movie producer, Steven Soderbergh, presented a four-and-a-half hour movie about Che Guevara in Spanish with French and English subtitles. Because of its lengthy time, the hours had to be split by a half-hour intermission. During the break, members of the press were served dinner in brown paper bags. Some observers in the audience claimed that the sandwiches served were made specifically to resemble the kind of ration Che and his revolutionaries in the Bolivian jungles could have been used. However, everyone was happy to devour them.Years after his death in 1968 in Bolivia, Che can still command enthusiastic crowds. And when the movie was finally over shortly after midnight, the crowd was visibly moved, according to Jay Stone from the Canadian News Wire. Many thought they had seen a masterpiece.Spanish actor, Benicio del Toro, impeccably plays the role of Che. Memories of Che in the Sierra Maestra with the Cuban revolutionaries were brought back into life. The daring moves against the Batista regime and the revolutionary conviction were all blinded to create something that screenwriter, Peter Buchman, called great “movie moments.”  “Everyone who works in Hollywood, they all want me to give more movie moments in a script,” and with Steven, he says, “This is a movie moment. We’ve got to get it out of here.”  But Jay Stone does not seem to see the objectivity behind the masterpiece. “Unlike most movie biopics, it doesn’t hinge on dramatic revelations or key moments: most of the film follows Che and his followers through the jungles and shows the day-to-day life of digging latrines, buying food from peasants and, occasionally, having chaotic gun battles with the army. It was guerrilla filmmaking about a guerrilla leader,” he says. That assertion is also shared by some other people in the audience, who appeared to be more uncomfortable with Che’s ideals then with the content of the movie or the art itself.  However, according to the producer himself, Soderbergh, the idea was “to give a sense of what it was like to hang out around this person. That’s really it. And the scenes were chosen strictly on the basis of what [that tells] us about the character.”But Soderbergh in this film, clearly wants to portray a gentler, kindler Che viewed as “a compassionate leader who insists on strict honesty among his rebel forces and kind treatment of the country’s peasants, and also exhibits unfailing fairness, military genius and bravery,” acknowledges Jay Stone.Many agree that the producer takes Che beyond his familiar image of a face on a T-shirt that we all have come to accustom with to what the movie’s consultant Jon Lee Anderson called “Che chic” and transforms him into almost the saintly symbol he has become in Cuba.Nothing about Che comes without controversyFor the gala premiere, the film was shown in the huge Lumière Theâtre where right outside some anti Che fanatics were denouncing the showing and were urging others not to vote for it as the film entered the competition. “There’s no amount of accumulated barbarity I could put on screen that would satisfy them,” said Soderbergh. “Maybe Americans will be led to see Che differently,” suggested Jorge Perugorria, the movie’s language consultant.It is almost certain that once the film hits the theaters, it will continue to draw huge crowds for, without a doubt, Che Guevara was one of the most prolific figures in the twentieth century. Throughout his lifetime, Che has produced millions of followers worldwide and, to many, the Argentine revolutionary has already entered revolutionary sainthood alongside Amilca Cabral, Patrice Lumumba, Augustino Neto, Charlemagne Péralte etc…Also see: Remembering Che Guevara’s historic speech at the nonaligned nations Summit in 1964Also, see Castro: https://csmsmagazine.org/news.php?pg=20060802I201And aslo see: Castro’s trip to Argentina last week: https://csmsmagazine.org/news.php?pg=20060724I187NoteCSMS Magazine France correspondent Marie-Jeannine Myrthil contributed to this report. 

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