Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 60 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:
Douglas Duarte and Adriana Marino helmed this loose-limbed, almost plotless video essay on how today’s world worships Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
What fascinates people about Guevara is not the sum of his work, but the look on his face: the most popular image of Guevara is the iconic 1960 photograph by Alberto Korda, still being reproduced in staggering and often unintentionally funny ways, including bobblehead figurines. However, it appears that few people are genuinely aware of what Guevara sought to accomplish in his lifetime – a pair of New Yorkers identify the Argentine Marxist leader as a “Cuban refugee.”
In this film, Duarte and Marino visit four continents where Guevara’s image is used to support a wild variety of unlikely causes: Bolivian women who seek heavenly intervention by kneeling in prayer before his photograph, East Los Angeles muralists who use him as a symbol to encourage the advocacy of civil rights, a Hong Kong legislator who taps his spirit to further pro-democracy laws, and German ultra-nationalists who wear t-shirts featuring the Korda image.
What is the appeal? British writer Christopher Hitchens tartly notes that Guevara’s good looks (not his good works) have ensured his cult following. “If he looked like Sancho Panza,” he observes, “we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
To their credit, Duarte and Marino locate a pair of Bolivian women who were among the last to see Guevara before his 1967 burial – the nurse who washed his executed body before it was put on public display and a teacher who snipped a lock of his hair while paying last respects. There is also very rare footage of the slain Guevara on display, which provides a strikingly different image of the revolutionary leader.
Biographer Jon Lee Anderson points out, “Che speaks for everyone,” even though what people are hearing are actually their own voices.
Posted on March 6, 2010 in Reviews by Phil Hall
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- THE TRUE STORY OF CHE GUEVARA (DVD)
- THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES
- THE BOOTLEG FILES: CHE!
- CHE: CRITERION COLLECTION (DVD)
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