Che Biopic Finally Sees Light in Bay Area

Tale of Cuban revolutionary comes to Bay Area

The epic biopic on the life of controversial revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara is finally in the Bay Area and it may be here to stay for awhile.

The director who brought us "Erin Brockovich" and the Ocean series with Brad Pitt and George Clooney examines the life of one of this century's most controversial political figures.

Steven Soderbergh said in a recent interview you do not have to agree with Che's politics to appreciate his life.

The Cannes and Toronto film festivals has already lobbed every praise imaginable on Soderbergh's two-part, four-and-a-half-hour biography of the controversial Cuban revolutionary.

The two part movie follows Guevara as he joins he Nov. 26, 1956 Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro and his band of 80 rebels to his capture and death in the Bolivian jungles.

Benicio Del Toro stars as the charismatic Argentinian revolutionary and if you put politics aside, like Soderbergh said he had to do just to make the movie, and you can break the viewing up in two sittings, the movie is an impressive achievement. And it is entertaining as well.

Soderbergh is able to carve out his own image of the complex Che while managing to pay homage to the popular Robert Redford produced "Motorcycle Diaries," which focuses on the revolutionary's early life and the development of his thought.

While the movie can be critiqued for overly romanticizing Guevara's work ethic, morality and dedication to his believes, few can help but admire the persona that Del Toro and Soderbergh create on screen.

The movies, which was initially playing exclusively in New York City, will be on at the Aquarius Theatre, 430 Emerson Street, in Palo Alto through Thursday and there are rumblings that the movie could open up in other Bay Area theaters for a short run soon.

The four hour movie focuses on Che's involvement with the band of revolutionaries who engage in a bloody battle to, in their eyes, free the Cuban people from the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.  After taking control of the island, part one of the two part series, focuses on the controversies surrounding the man hailed as a hero by some and a killer by others.

The second movie fast forwards past Che's efforts in Africa and his role as an ambassador to the island to his attempt to spark revolution throughout Latin America. Part two begins with an incognito Guevara hiding  from the CIA and Castro explaining to his people where the popular leader has gone.

Entering South America in disguise, Guevara recruits another band of guerrilla fighters in the harsh Bolivian jungles.

Soderbergh told Esquire this month that he did not make the movie because he believed in Guevara's politics but instead because he admired the man's dedication to his beliefs.   

The magazine also examines what it means to the new generation of American to be a Communist in the light of Obama's election, and the accusations hurled against him during the campaign.

For more information on the movie or to buy tickets visit Aquarius Theatre's Web site.

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