Last night, Daniel and I went to my favorite movie theater to see the film Che.
I loved it.
It's one of those epic (and by epic I'm not only referring to the 5 hour running time) stories that really gets under your skin and worms its way into your brain. Sounds lovely, eh?
Ernesto Che Guevara - a familiar sounding name, yes? Perhaps a somewhat foggy, nefarious figure in the Cuban Revolution. Hell, maybe even the details of the Cuban Revolution are pretty foggy. Maybe like me, you didn't take many (any) history classes in college except for art and architecture histories. And maybe in high school, if the history lesson didn't revolve around the US (or portray us in a positive light), then maybe it simply wasn't taught. So, unless you were a total geek and a member of the Model UN team for four years, maybe your views of world affairs grew up askew with large gaping gaps of missing information. Maybe.
Or maybe you know that Ernesto Che Guevara was an Argentine physician, who after seeing first hand the extreme poverty and oppression of Latin American peasants, became a revolutionary hero and a legend. Or maybe you know Che Guevara was a brutal and merciless communist who helped Fidel Castro overthrow the Cuban government. But what do we really know? It's all a matter of perspective.
What we do know is how Hollywood often distorts and maligns history, and perhaps that is the case with Che. But it was a story well told, beautifully filmed, with a brilliant performance by Benicio del Toro. Whether you view Che Guevara as a hero or a traitor, here was a man, an educated man, who gave up what could have been a very comfortable life, to become a champion of the people. And not even his own people! He was fanatically passionate about social justice, probably a little crazy as well, but he was also an educated and intelligent man. A reasonable man. An uncompromising man. A man to be respected, if not admired. The kind of character that really makes you think.
So, if you have 5 hours to spare, go see Che, you won't be sorry.