Favorite New Films: Che

posted by The Joe


No director in modern American cinema balances mainstream and arthouse projects more successfully than Steven Soderbergh, and he’s mixed the two together to create a 4 1/2 hour epic of the rise and fall of Che Guevara. Its size and scope is rarely seen in cinema these days, and the special ‘Roadshow‘ event showcases just how unique this is.

Che was originally to be directed by Terence Malick, but Soderbergh took over after Malick jumped to The New World. There’s an obvious influence still present, however, as the beauty of nature and slow, contemplative pacing shine through. Eschewing a normal ‘biopic’ style, Soderbergh instead focuses on the mundane, day-to-day life of the revolutionary as he first helps Castro rise to power in Cuba, and then faces his downfall with a failed revolution in Bolivia.

Any other filmmaker would’ve cut the film after the first section, but Soderbergh gives equal time (2 hr 15 min each) to the downward spiral Che faced at the end of his life. This second section is depressing and harder to watch, but also gives fascinating insight into how tough it is to start a revolution, especially when facing the apathy of the oppressed.

Che opens today in Minneapolis at the Uptown Theatre, and it’s a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience that’s not to be missed.


Friday, January 16th, 2009 at 6:00 am