Che – Part 1&2
Che – Part 1: The Argentinian
Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Fidel Castro meet each other in Mexico during a dinner where they plan to free Cuba from Batista. With a small group of guerrillas they land in Cuba and travel through the jungle towards Havana. As they get closer, more and more workers and farmers join them while Castro is quickly seen as the leader of the revolution while Che takes care of the guerrillas and the fighting against the military.
Che – Part 2: Guerrilla
Che Guevara has left Cuba and managed to get to Bolivia where he wants to start a revolution with the help of Fidel Castro, just like he did in Cuba. He manages to put together a small group of revolutionaries but unlike in Cuba, the local people don’t support him. Bolivia will become the downfall of Che Guevara…
Sound and Vision:
Che – Part 1 & 2 has two discs and are two movies, as the title already suggests. Soderbergh also decided to give both parts a different look. Not only is the aspect ratio different (2.35:1 for part 1 and 1.78:1 for part 2) but also the contrast. In Part 1 this is very high and results in a lack of detail in certain darker scenes. Also the colors are less bright and at times there’s a lack of depth. There’s also several scenes in black&white to heighten the feeling of authenticity and these contain quite some grain.
Part 2 looks quite different with a lot of natural light and good shadow detail in dark scenes.
The soundtrack for both movies is the same, a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 track that focuses on the front center channel for dialogue and which oppresses most of the other sounds. The result is a rather disappointing track that sometimes sounds like mono. Only when there’s combat scenes to be seen, we really can hear this is a 5.1 track as then bullets start flying around your ears and we truly get a nice atmospheric sound image.
– Interview with Steven Soderbergh
– Behind the Scenes
– Exclusive Interview with Benicio Del Toro
– Interview with Alberto Iglesias
– Interview with John Lee Anderson on Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life
We get a whole slew of interviews with not only cast & crew but also John Lee Anderson who’s a journalist who wrote a book about Guevara’s life. Don’t be fooled by the title “Behind the Scenes” as this is also some more interview fragments and no actual filming footage.
Che: Part 1 & 2 is a double movie that leaves you with mixed feelings. Without a doubt the life of Che Guevara is an interesting one that deserves a movie and can make for some great cinema, but Soderbergh has trouble getting the movies made and decided to not put things in a historic perspective but rather focus on the diaries of the man which results in the viewer following things from a first person perspective. This can be great for certain movies but for Che it can easily turn off people.
While Part 1 can be seen a a movie about a guerrilla war, Part 2 goes more in-depth into the psyche of Che Guevarra which makes for even less “entertaining” footage. This doesn’t mean the movies are bad, but they’re top heavy and not something that will go down the throat of the average person easily.
The DVD release is decent with a good transfer (most “issues” are choices made by the director) and extras where especially the interview with John Lee Anderson stands out.
Che Part 1 & 2 are good movies but they’ll have trouble finding a big audience. They’re more art-like than entertainment and you should base your decision on buying this release on that. And when you do buy it, seeing both movies right after each other may not be the best choice.