Che Guevara (2005)

 

 

 

Director:     Josh Evans.

Starring:     Eduardo Noriega (Ernesto 'Che' Guevara),  Enrico Lo Verso (Fidel),  Paula Garcs (Aleida),  Sonia Braga (Celia),  Sergio d'Amato (Camillo Cienfuegos),  Omar Adam (Julito),  Julio Alonzo (Benitez),  Georgia Anderson (Vilma),  Alex 'Rio' Bier (Enemy soldier #2),  Armando Cantina (Remora),  Antonio D. Charity (Peasant #2),  Dl (Israel's wife),  Chris Facey (Will),  Jesus Fuerte (Armando),  Federico Galavis (Rogelio),  Javier Garcia (Fidel / Camilo),  Oscar Garcia (Oscarito),  Jorge Gonzalez Borrelli (Camilo),  Ben Jurand (Almedia),  Tenisha D. Light (Peasant),  Charis Michelsen (American Reporter),  Sebastin Miranda (Raul),  Erich A. Muller (Eutimo),  Carla Ortiz (Hooshang),   Saadi (El Vaquerito),  Maxie J. Santillan Jr. (Chao),  Maz Siam (Burly Investigator),  J.R. Starr (Pesant),  Peter Mark Vasquez.

Ernesto "Che" Guevara, co-rebel with Fidel Castro in Cuba & rebel leader elsewhere

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

Bolivia 1967.  Che says to the interrogator that he will not answer any more of his questions.  The fellow leaves and two other guys approach Che.  One of them screams "Communist!" and then kicks Che.  Che wonders:  "How did I become who I am now?"  "I believe in equality.  And I'm willing to die  --  to lay hands on a weapon and pull the trigger for what I believe in."

A young doctor after taking part in a failed revolution in Guatemala flees to Mexico.  There he joins Cuban exiles led by Fidel Castro in a war to liberate Cuba.  After several weeks of grueling training in the mountains, they were arrested for plotting to overthrow Batista's government.  Among them was only one foreigner.  He was an Argentinean doctor, Ernesto Guevara. 

In prison Fidel tells Che that he has a plan to get them out of jail. 

November 25, 1956.  After the repression in Guatemala, Che fled to Mexico in search of a path.  He comments that the path for him was made clear by Fidel Castro.  He adds:  "I would have followed him to the ends of the earth."

Havana, 1960.   A female interviewer comments that after a year and a half in the jungle, it must be nice to finally have some running water.  She asks him for background information about his arrival in Cuba.  He tells her that there were 84 men on the Granma.  Most of them were killed. 

Santa Clara, Cuba.  A reporter from Argentina speaks with Che and asks him why he is in Cuba.   "I am here simply because I believe that the only way to rid the Americas of dictators is to overthrow them.  We are against the United States because the United States are against us."   Che says he never was a member of the Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala, but when the US invaded he got a group of men to fight against the United Fruit Company.  The FBI went around detaining anyone who might be a danger to the United Fruit Company and then killed them.

He escaped to Mexico and met up with some of the July 26th members who he knew from Guatemala and became friendly with Raul, the younger brother of Fidel Castro.  Raul introduced him to Fidel.  The trip from Mexico to Cuba lasted six days.  They were freezing and starving before they landed on the southeastern coast of Cuba. 

Sierra Maestra Mountains.  Castro says that they will assault Oriente which is his home region.  This place was also where the great patriot Jose Marti launched his attack against the Spanish. 

Back with the female interviewer in 1960 Havana.  Che says that 72 of the 84 men were killed with only 12 surviving.  Che and his companions stop to rest as they travel through the jungle.  Suddenly rifle fire opens up them.  One of the rebels is badly wounded.  As a medic Che checks out the man but he dies.  Then Che is hit in the neck and left shoulder area.  He comments to the journalist that it was kill or be killed and he learned that fast. 

Che is with two other guys in the mountains.  He says he left behind his wife and son.  He has no regrets for the choice that he made.  They find two other rebels and join together.  They go to a house in the mountains where the people help them.  They feed them despite the fact that helping the rebels puts their own lives in danger.  Che writes to his mother:  "My life has a reason now."  Before they leave, the civilians ask Che to leave the weapons behind.  For some reason, Che complies.  

Fidel scolds Che for giving up his weapons to the people in the house.  Che wheezes heavily with asthma.  Writing to his mother he says:  "It's just survival here."

The men decide to capture the army post, El Uvero.  In the attack Che kills a soldier.  At a farm house he examines a child who has parasites. 

Che says that he grew up in Argentina middle-class and wanted to be a doctor.  He started to wander the Americas.  He saw poverty, sickness and injustice and he decided to dedicate his live to fighting for justice.  Fidel has Che stay behind because of his asthma.  They are to meet later at the Diaz farm.  When Che feels better he and his companion head for the farm.  His companion asks Che why is he, a man from a rich family, risking his life to fight for Cuba.  Che replies that when Fidel is running things, everyone will have food on the table and be able to read. 

At the Diaz farm there is only one man.  He tells Che that Fidel was ambushed and had to split his forces in two.  In the newspaper they learn that Fidel is alive.  Che meets with a woman who graduated from M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). 

Fidel shows up.  He tells Che that there are uprisings in the city.  Many of their parents were involved in the bitter defeat of 1956.  Fidel says that the N.Y. Times reporter who interviewed him was sympathetic to the revolution. 

A female rebel named Aleida, a school teacher from Santa Clara whose family came to Cuba from Spain, says to a comrade that Che is too skinny and he smells, but she admires his work.  She talks with Che and he tells her that he does not like to bathe.  He says he doesn't know why, but probably because his mother dropped him in a river as a child and so now he has asthma.  Che teaches a fellow rebel to read.  He begins having an affair with Aleida.    Walking through the mountains one of the men talks back to Che.  Their guide, to save his own hide, gave away their position.  The rebels set up to execute him.  But the two men of the informal firing squad hesitate to kill the condemned.  So Che takes out his revolver and immediately shoots the man in the head. 

Fidel dreams about food every night.  Che and a fellow rebel go to check out a noise.  They run into three lost Batista soldiers.  They tell them where to go and Che tells them that they should be ashamed of themselves. 

Fidel scolds Che for not punishing the fellow who was disrespectful to him.  He wonders if Che can handle the responsibility.  Che says he can.  Che later says that Fidel always had faith that he was going to win.  A peasant tells Che that a large number of enemy soldiers are coming.  They are at the farm of Julio Zapatero.  Che and his men attack but his tommy gun and another man's weapon jam.  They retreat.

Che tells another rebel that the Americans are acting like they are open to a Castro regime, but when they take over, the Americans will leave them out to dry. 

January 2, 1959.  General Batista flees the island and the rebels take over. 

Che gets mad at a soldier who took a private car from someone. 

Havana, 1960.  Che's mother asks her son:  "So you are in love again?"  Yes, he says.  She asks about his wife and he says that his family is moving to Havana.  He will be able to see his daughter Hildita again   Next month she will be three years old. 

The world media makes accusation about human rights violations in Cuba.  Fidel says he does not want to make the US an enemy because that nation can make a lot of problems for Cuba.  President Eisenhower calls the events in Cuba a "blood bath". 

The female interviewer asks Che what he thinks about some Americans calling him a mercenary.  He replies that he did what he had to do.  He adds that he opposes terrorism.  And now he dreams of going to the Altiplano region which borders on Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay.  He adds that he will eventually go there. 

Bolivia 1967.  Che's mother says that she does not want to lose him.  He tells her not to worry.  He is a good fighter. 

Che is wounded and then forced to surrender.  He tells his captor:  "I'm Che Guevera.  You better not kill me.  I'm  worth more to you alive than dead."  A message is sent to headquarters:  "Saturno, we have Papa." 

A Che with tied hands lays on the jail floor and cries.  An interrogator asks him what was the purpose of his plan in Bolivia.  Che asks to see a school teacher.  She comes to talk to Che, but does not like him.  She says he has come to kill their fathers and sons.  Che says he is just a guerilla fighter and he goes to wherever there is someone oppressed. 

A man comes into his room and points a pistol at him.  Che cries out:  "Shoot me, coward!  I'm only a man."  The man quickly leaves.  Che starts to relax when the man with the pistol rushes into the room again and shoots Che five times. 

In a letter to his mother Che writes:  "I miss you, but I don't miss home.  My life has a reason now."

 

Good movie but a little short (one hour and 14 minutes) and at times a bit confusing as it switches between narration and events in the present.  The movie doesn't glorify Che, but it doesn't present his flaws either.  Another disappointment is that it doesn't cover why Che left Cuba for Bolivia.  Suddenly he is in Bolivia.  Also it's not clear just how Fidel came to power.  Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the movie and learned a few things.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


Historical Background:

 

See Havana (1990) .

 

Return To Main Page

Return to Home Page (Vernon Johns Society)