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Che Guevara under the spotlight

A new film is to be made about Che Guevara, the man whose image adorns the T-shirts of many a young student “radical” or someone trying to appear hip (even if they haven’t much clue about his real life). This story, drawn from a report at the Venice Film Festival, suggests that the man will be portrayed warts an’ all, making use of declassified CIA files. Good. It is something of a pet issue here at Samizdata that while the monsters of Fascism are rightly excoriated in film and print and unthinkable of a youngster to wear a picture of Adolf Hitler on his shirt, it is considered okay to do the same with the portrait of a mass murderer like Lenin or Chairman Mao. Of course in some cases the results of this mindset are unintentionally amusing.

Maybe the message is getting through. Totalitarian socialists are not hip, and not clever.

20 comments to Che Guevara under the spotlight

  • As I’ve gotten medled up in a large Che debate here in Denmark I decided to write this piece asking the more important question Was Che more like Anakin Skywalker or Harry Potter?.

  • Julian Taylor

    BIG yawn … yet another Che movie. I hope to God that in 30 years time someone isn’t going to make movies about how Bin Laden was just ‘misunderstood’ rather than a misogynistic, oedipal sociopath.

    And Mr Pearce, please don’t descibe certain Samizdatanistas as,

    … young student “radical” or someone trying to appear hip …

    Less of the ‘young’ please.

  • Martin Chuzzlewit

    Deleted. Feel free to recomment if you have anything intelligent to say

  • Edward

    This may be old news for some here, but I’d highly recommend the writings of Humberto Fontova. He’s a cuban ex-patriot and one of Che’s (and Castro’s) most vociferous critics.

    Plus he’s witty and highly entertaining.

  • Humberto Fontova is not a Cuban ‘ex-patriot’, Edward, he is a very much current patriot. Opposing Casto’s tyranny right now just about the most patriotic thing any Cuban could do.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Julian, age is a relative concept, me ol’ mukka!

  • RAB

    The picture I’d like to see on T-shirts was the one the Sunday Times Mag published a few years ago.
    This was of our romantic hero and man of the people, chipping out of a bunker at the Rio De Janerio Country Club or somewhere similar.
    The man was an arrogant little rich kid, who, like Bin Laden and Yasser Arrafat loved to meddle with the politics of someone else’s country rather than their own.
    The man was a monster! I hope the movie bombs!

  • Robert Hale

    Do you remember the almighty row when some prankster came up with the “Adolf Hitler International Tour Dates” t-shirt back in the mid-80s or thereabouts?

  • Edward

    Humberto Fontova is not a Cuban ‘ex-patriot’, Edward, he is a very much current patriot. Opposing Casto’s tyranny right now just about the most patriotic thing any Cuban could do.

    Perhaps I should have used the word “emmigrant” instead. I simply meant “expatriot” (which I spelled incorrectly) as in “someone temporarily or permanently in a country and culture other than that of their upbringing and/or legal residence.”

  • Julian Taylor

    Or ’emigrant’ perhaps?


  • Martin Chuzzlewit

    Deleted by Admin. We feel no need to indulge rude jackasses

  • Mr Pedantic

    expatriate = somebody living outside their home country
    ex-patriot = somebody who used to be a patriot

  • Matra

    Speaking of Humberto Fontova. I believe he lives in the southern Louisiana/New Orleans area. I hope he’s safe.

  • Luniversal

    There was a dire biopic of Che made around 1970 with Jack Palance as Fidel and Omar ‘Cairo Fred’ Sharif as the bearded banknote-signing biker from BA.

    The film was promoted with the slogan ‘From a dream of justice he created a nightmare of violence’, which sounds the sort of thing you want.

    I look forward to Hollywood’s life of GW Bush: from his humble origins and early struggles, including his gallant military service, to the brilliant foreign policy strategist and inspirational domestic leader of today.

  • PTG

    Cubans are naturally wary of any new movie about Che. I just hope they get the ending right!

  • Verity

    Luniversal – How about “From a higher intelligence level than you plus a background that gave him an early insight into how government works, as his father had held national elected office practically from the day he was born – plus a higher IQ and better grades in Yale and Harvard than fellow politically-privileged multimillionaire family Al Gore (Bush – oil; Gore – tobacco)”? I can work with that.

  • I’m desperately wishing to find a shirt I once saw that had the Che icon over the legend: This Shirt Brought to You by Capitalism. Anyone have any leads?

  • Wonder if the woman behind this had anything to do with the casting. The council that own the property she is dancing on is not amused!

  • polco

    You know people there is a reason why revolution comes about. If I remember correctly Cuba was run by a corrupt tyrant who was backed up all the way by the good ‘ol USofA! That is before castros POPULAR revolution. Read your history books people, most of the worlds problems right now are caused by Americas exploitation and interference in other countries since world war 2. Funny how they took two and a half years to involve themselves in that one!

  • You know people there is a reason why revolution comes about.

    That rather depends on the time and place. In Cuba’s case it was one bunch of mass murderous thugs wanting to take over from a bunch of petty thugs.

    If I remember correctly Cuba was run by a corrupt tyrant…

    If you remember? So not exactly well informed about Cuban history and politics, eh?