Balanced and unbiased
Al B. | Brooklyn | 12/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is truly a wonderful, insightful documentary. Che was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat, military theorist, and major figure of the Cuban Revolution. I know all the negative reviews come from Cuban-Americans who's famalies fled Cuba in fear of having to be equal with Afro-Cubans, God forbid. If you need proof look at the famalies who fled during the revolution, white, wealthy Cubans who could not imagine sharing their wealth with Cubans of color. The U.S.-backed Cuban general, President and dictator Fulgencio Batista was corrupt and sold out his country along with other wealthy Cuban famalies to the highest bidder. Cuba was being raped by US corporations and the Mafia while Batista and his wealthy friends turned a blind eye so they could line their pockets with dirty money, money being made on the backs of the poor Cuban people. "Brothels flourished. A major industry grew up around them: Government officials received bribes, policemen collected protection money. Prostitutes could be seen standing in doorways, strolling the streets, or leaning from windows. One report estimated that 11,500 of them worked their trade in Havana. Beyond the outskirts of the capital, beyond the slot machines, was one of the poorest, and most beautiful countries in the Western world. " -- David Detzer, American journalist, after visiting Havana in the 1950s.
Che may not have been perfect but he did believe in equality, so much that he sacrificed his life defending the poor and opressed people of Latin America. Great story told very well."
A. Osio | Wichita, KS USA | 12/20/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's a pretty honest portrayal of a person, for some a monster, for some a hero, but just a human been with poor judgement in the enforcing of his ideas, so extreme that led him to "omnipotent" power in the Castro regime and to commit one of the most atrocious murder rampages in the history of Humanity."
S. J. Boatwright | New York | 12/02/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I often view western productions regarding the life of any self-proclaimed socialist/Marxist/anarchist with a great deal of skepticism. The same skepticism I would have if I were in Cuba today with a book about Milton Friedman. However, I believe this documentary gave a relatively balanced look into the life of the world's most famous icon.
The documentary is primarily narrated by one of the greatest authorities on the history of Che, author of "Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life", John Lee Anderson. Much time is also given to Felix Rodriguez, the CIA operative who interrogated and carried out orders to execute Che. In one of the best parts of the documentary, American teens who were in Cuba at the time and joined Castro's rebel force, speak on their experiences during and after the revolution. References to Americans assisting in the Cuban revolution are normally quite obscure.
The documentaries greatest success is that is forces you to think regardless of how you personally feel about the man. The tendency when exploring the life of Che is to make him a mini-Castro who posses few thoughts of his own outside of Fidel's authoritarian vision (Fidel's supposed socialism is also called into question). No such perspective is given here. Che is presented as a vocal opponent of both the USSR and subsequently the Cuban Communist Party. He's portrayed as a humanist and completely selfless, commonly sacrificing his one free day of the week to volunteer with the peasantry. Militarily Che is also portrayed as being quite the leader during the Cuban revolution.
Conversely the more controversial moments of Che's history are not neglected. Che's summary executions of traitors is explored on several occasions. Post-revolution when Che began to clash with the Cuban/Soviet leadership, Fidel appointed Guevara head of the "la cabana prison" in an attempt to put Che in a less visible role. As head of a prison where war criminals were tried, Che sentenced hundreds to death and quite possibly personally executed some of those found guilty. The notion that some of those killed were innocent is also mentioned.
This documentary truly gives a total depiction of Che's life. Personal history, political ideologies, and testimony from supporters and opponents alike give it a legitimacy few productions have when exploring such a controversial figure. Unfortunately, the documentary's balanced perspective fell apart in the last several minutes of the film for me. Che is deemed as a failure by two of the narrators. After millions have have flocked to the man's ideas and replicated his passion I'm quite sure that's not an objective assessment. His military campaign is Bolivia is certainly questionable (I'm sure Che himself would chalk it up as a failure) and the countless amounts of slave-labor made Che shirts I'm sure has him rolling in his grave. However, the Cuban revolution and the countless movements in Che's name that would proceed his death I'm sure he would smile upon gladly. Furthermore, capitalism and oppressive states have never ceased to come under fire and quite frequently Che's image and message's are those used in anti-capitalist movements, inspiring generation after generation. Of course criticisms still exist of said movements as well as Che's Marxist ideology but, such is the world of politics.
Overall I would definitely recommend to all interested in a fairly-balanced exploration of the man."