For those of you who’ve yet to hear, Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Traffic) has made a super-sized movie — like Kill Bill, one big movie cut into two regular ones — about the legendary Che Guevara. The film, starring Benicio Del Toro, is simply called Che, with the first half being called The Argentine, the second, Guerrilla.
Check out the poster here at right; click for larger view.
Both The Argentine and Guerrilla screened at Cannes and at the time of this writing, it had not been picked up by a studio, which really hurt my feelings, because I personally am itching to see it! But as I was about to post this, my editor informed me that the NY Post [via /Film] that Magnolia Pictures has picked up the film for U.S. theatrical release. That is awesome news!
I had originally linked a bootleg trailer for Che here below, which was all I needed to see to be sold, but it seems to have been pulled down already. Oh, wait, found another one, it even looks legit, check it out below.
I know the story of Che is compelling enough, but it looks as if Soderbergh has put together an epic account of the man and with some of that sweeping, tear-worthy score going on in the background, well, tell me where I need to go to see this thing and I’ll… well, I’ll probably wait until it’s on DVD because I know it won’t likely be around here. Blast you, New Hampshire!
If you’re unfamiliar with Che Guevara, here’s a brief history lesson: Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in 1928 and was to be a doctor. As a medical student, he and a friend embarked on a journey spanning South America on an old motorcycle to see all of the people and places they had read about, ending at a leper colony to try and help out. On this adventure, Che witnessed a lot of things he didn’t like to see among his people and within his country — this ultimately inspired him to do something about it. At one point, he met a man named Fidel Castro and helped him invade Cuba and reclaim it; helping to solidify him as a legend of guerrilla warfare and had him traveling the world as one of Castor’s main men. He eventually left Cuba and went off to try liberating more countries as he did Cuba, but in October of 1967, with the help of the C.I.A., Che Guevara was captured and executed. Some people look at him as a fallen god, some people despise the name; but whatever your view, you know and respect him as a massive name in human history.
One thing that I strongly urge people interested in seeing this to do, is to rent/buy The Motorcycle Diaries before seeing this. I have absolutely no idea how well that they’ll tie together, but The Motorcycle Diaries is one of my favorite foreign films — directed by Walter Salles, produced by Robert Redford, and starring insanely talented Gael Garcia Bernal. It follows Che Guevara on his trip as a young medical student with his friend Alberto Granado. When I first saw it, I had no idea who Che was, but then and even now knowing more to the story behind the man, it’s a truly beautiful and remarkable movie with a brilliant score by Gustavo Santaolalla.
Below is a trailer for The Motorcycle Diaries, in case you’ve never heard of it before.