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Uncovering ‘Che'

12 May, 2008 By: Billy Gil

Che Guevara's life is filled with enough intrigue to fill many movies.

In the same way Walter Salles' 2004 film The Motorcycle Diaries covered Ernesto “Che” Guevara's youth traveling through South America and witnessing the extreme poverty that would inspire him to become a Marxist revolutionary, Josh Evans' Che covers only the time that Che Guevara spent in Cuba, fighting against dictator Fulgencio Batista in the Cuban Revolution.

Evans is only the latest filmmaker to take on the controversial icon, whose image now graces everything from the walls of cooperative living houses to shopping-mall T-shirts around the country.

“His life was amazing,” Evans said. “He constantly was in motion his whole life.”

Evans began researching and conceptualizing the film back in 2000, eventually writing a 450-page script about Guevara's entire life that he meticulously whittled down to 160 pages. The final product, after two years of editing, is the brisk Che, clocking in at about 80 minutes.

“That's the core of the movie really, the fact that 82 guys got on a boat (from Mexico to Cuba), 70 got killed, and within nine months they mounted the beginning of the most improbable revolution,” Evans said. “Just the fact that they did it was amazing.”

Evans said the film doesn't aim to glorify or diminish Guevara's deeds as much as represent one man's dedication to his convictions.

“People who don't like him, who might have lost their homes and families [during the revolution], might think it pretentious at best that someone made a film about him,” Evans said. “I don't think the movie says that he's this great guy.

“What I find compelling about him was he was a man who had a belief and took action. You can say there are horrible people who do that, but I don't think he put himself first. I think he was really bothered by poverty and wanted to change [things].”

Che is due on DVD May 20 from Image Entertainment, at $14.99.

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