Che (2008 film)

Che is a two-part 2008 biographical film about Argentine Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, directed by Steven Soderbergh. Rather than follow a standard chronological order, the films offer an oblique series of interspersed moments along the overall timeline. Part One is titled The Argentine and focuses on the Cuban Revolution from the landing of Fidel Castro, Guevara, and other revolutionaries in Cuba to their successful toppling of Fulgencio Batista's dictatorship two years later. Part Two is titled Guerrilla and focuses on Guevara's attempt to bring revolution to Bolivia and his demise. Both parts are shot in a cinéma vérité style, but each has different approaches to linear narrative, camerawork and the visual look. It stars Benicio del Toro as Guevara, with an ensemble cast that includes Demián Bichir, Rodrigo Santoro, Santiago Cabrera, Franka Potente, Julia Ormond, Vladimir Cruz, Marc-André Grondin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Joaquim de Almeida, Édgar Ramírez, Yul Vazquez, Unax Ugalde, Alfredo De Quesada, and Oscar Isaac.

Promotional poster
Directed bySteven Soderbergh
Written byPeter Buchman
Benjamin A. van der Veen
Terrence Malick
Produced byLaura Bickford
Benicio del Toro
StarringBenicio del Toro
CinematographyPeter Andrews
Edited byPablo Zumárraga
Music byAlberto Iglesias
Distributed byMorena Films
20th Century Fox[1]
Wild Bunch[1]
(Germany, Austria and Netherlands)
Warner Bros. Pictures
IFC Films
(United States)
Release dates
  • 21 May 2008 (2008-05-21) (Cannes)
  • 5 September 2008 (2008-09-05) (Spain: The Argentine)
  • 12 December 2008 (2008-12-12) (United States)
  • 7 January 2009 (2009-01-07) (France: The Argentine)
  • 27 January 2009 (2009-01-27) (France: Guerrilla)
  • 27 February 2009 (2009-02-27) (Spain: Guerrilla)
Running time
257 minutes[2]
United States
BudgetUS$58 million[3]
Box officeUS$42.8 million[1]

Filmmaker Terrence Malick originally worked on a screenplay limited to Guevara's attempts to start a revolution in Bolivia. When financing fell through, Malick left the project, and Soderbergh subsequently agreed to direct the film. He realized that there was no context for Guevara's actions in Bolivia and decided that his participation in the Cuban Revolution and his appearance at the United Nations in 1964 should also be depicted. Peter Buchman was hired to write the screenplay — the script was so long that Soderbergh decided to divide the film into two parts: one chronicling Cuba, the other depicting Bolivia. Soderbergh shot the installments back-to-back starting at the beginning of July 2007, with Guerrilla first in Spain for 39 days, and The Argentine shot in Puerto Rico and Mexico for 39 days.

Che was screened as a single film at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. del Toro won the Best Actor Award, and the film received mostly positive reviews. IFC Films, which holds all North American rights, initially released the combined film for one week on 12 December 2008 in New York City and Los Angeles to qualify for the year's Academy Awards. Strong box office performance led to the "special roadshow edition" being extended in NYC and LA, and later expanded into additional markets. It was released as two separate films, titled Che Part 1: The Argentine and Che Part 2: Guerrilla, and further distribution followed. The Independent Film Channel released the films via video on demand and on Region 1 DVD exclusively from Blockbuster. As a whole, Che grossed US$40.9 million worldwide, against a budget of US$58 million.[1]

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