Have You Seen Soderbergh's Che Double Feature Yet?
by Alex Billington
December 21, 2008
I'm still very proud to say that I sat through all 262 minutes of Steven Soderbergh's Che epic back at the Toronto Film Festival. Even if you hate Che Guevara or even if you don't like Steven Soderbergh, it's worth the time and money to sit through such a beautifully made cinematic epic. IFC Films debuted Che publicly in theaters on December 12th a week back to not only qualify for Oscar consideration, but to give viewers a chance to experience Soderbergh's two films back-to-back just as I did. Well apparently the film has been so successful, including selling out shows over the weekend, that IFC is letting it run for another two weeks.
Che opened in two theaters last weekend: Clearview's Ziegfeld in New York City and The Landmark in Los Angeles. IFC's plan was to run it for only one week as a "roadshow" double feature before pulling it from theaters and re-releasing each film individually in early January. IFC will now put Che back in those two theaters starting on December 24th (in New York) and December 26th (in Los Angeles) for another two more weekends of exclusive runs. "We thought Che would have a great deal of interest, but to sell out in Los Angeles and New York City was even beyond our expectations," IFC distribution VP Mark Boxer said.
So if you live in New York or Los Angeles, there's no excuse, you should have seen Che by now. Okay, maybe I understand that it's hard to find an extra 5 hours in a day to sit down and watch an entire 262 minutes of guerrilla warfare in Spanish, but I'm telling you, it's worth it! Whether or not you end up loving it in the end, I'm certain anyone who appreciates cinema will walk out at least admiring what Steven Soderbergh and Benicio Del Toro accomplished. Arguing over the politics of Che Guevara and what he did is something to do on your own time, espcially because Che doesn't shy away from all that reality. And thinking back on my own experience in Toronto, its become something that I'm increasingly very proud of.
If you're only able to dedicate smaller segments of time to Che, then you're in luck. IFC will still be releasing Che: Part One and Che: Part Two on January 9th in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco before expanding to five additional markets the following weekend. The film will also be available via Video on Demand starting on January 21st as well. IFC expects to have both films playing in more than 50 theaters in the top 25 markets by January 23rd, the day after the Oscar nominations arrive. I hope Che has gained even more buzz by then, because it definitely doesn't have enough at the moment. Will you at least see Che when Benicio Del Toro gets an Oscar nomination?
Che was one of the most underwhelming films I saw at TIFF this year, so I won't be sitting through it a second time when it eventually gets a wider release. I disagree that anyone who appreciates cinema will walk out admiring Soderbergh's and Del Toro's accomplishments; I appreciate cinema as much as the next person but didn't leave with much of a feeling of admiration. It's okay to understand that someone had huge goals with a film but come away from it thinking they failed to meet them. 🙂 For people who fear the epic length of the double feature, I definitely recommend seeing Che: Part 1 over Che: Part 2. Che: Part 2 is mostly just Benicio del Toro wheezing through the Bolivian jungle for two plus hours coupled with distracting and ultimately empty cameos by other actors. Che: Part 1 definitely stands on its own as a decent film but definitely gets dragged down by the banality of Che: Part 2.
Liz on Dec 21, 2008
It sounds very interesting even after your comment Liz, but i'll probably wait till I can get my hands on the DVD's
Scott McHenry on Dec 21, 2008
I enjoyed the film a lot but it wasn't anything too great for me, it's an accomplishment and it's artistically shot and acted but I frankly don't see this gaining any major awards as the year goes on outside of some other festival/critics stuff. This is one of those movies that is big and all... but it won't achieve the blockbuster status that it probably deserves. I'd be willing to counter Alex's bet for an Oscar nomination for Del Toro. As great as he was, I see the Academy going with Eastwood, Pitt, Rourke, Penn, and Langella. I would prefer Del Toro.... but I just don't see the Academy picking him. I also wish moviegoers don't bring too much of an opinion to the movie. Watch the movie for what it is as a piece of cinematic art and then apply your own political viewpoint... I'm sicking of hearing how people can't enjoy Frost/Nixon because it isn't accurate, that's just bullshit and I feel the same applies here with Che. And on a final note, I just adore Del Toro and Soderbergh. Can't wait for The Wolfman and The Informant in '09.
BahHumbug on Dec 21, 2008
For anyone who wants to see more about Che, they can watch The Motorcycle Diaries starring Gael Garcia Bernal. It's a fantastic movie and gives insight into why he became a revolutionary. It's about his journey through Argentina, Chile, and eventually the Amazon, where he and his friend treat lepers. It's set in the early fifties when he's a 22 year old student of medicine a semester away from graduating and goes on this journey with his best friend. There's a lot of breathtaking scenery as well. I look forward to the 'Che' dvd release.
JL on Dec 21, 2008
I can't wait to see this...I love Benicio and I've been reading about Che Guevara while preparing my thesis on Hispano American Literature, so I'm really interested in learning about Guevara with this movie. God knows when it'll be released in Italy...
samy on Dec 21, 2008
I just think it's funny that IFC is being very up front that this limited run is solely for awards qualification, yet its awards buzz has been precisely nil, and it's tracking at 56% on Rotten Tomatoes. It hasn't shown up on any of the major critics' lists being tracked at Rope of Silicon, either. Sorry, no one really cares.
Lady Aerin on Dec 21, 2008
The film was a great film. However; Foreign language films suffer from the inability of the audience to understand the language and foreign culture with all it' s nuances and beauty. Audiences who understand Spanish with a Cuban dialect will truly enjoy the film. Even Latinos from other Latin American countries who have their own Spanish dialogue will not enjoy it to it's fullest. Spanish Films are more art then their American Counter parts. Even war scenes are portrayed with romanticism , machismo and cultural nuances then an American Film. My recommendation is to learn The Cuban Spanish dialogue and Culture especially the culture of idealism and Machismo. I quote "Man of La Mancha": To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe, to bear with unbearable sorrow , to run where the brave dare not go,to right the unrightable wrong, to love , pure and chaste from afar, to try , when your arms are to weary, to reach the unreachable star. this is my quest to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far, to fight for the right without question or pause, to be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause and I know if I'll only be true to this glorious quest, that my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I'm laid down to my rest, and the world will be better for this , that one man scorn and covered with scars , still strove , with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable star. Rest in Peace, Che ! Someone else will reach your glorious quest to free Latin America from The Colonial Western Countries. Que Viva Che !
Ivan Arcaya on Dec 21, 2008
Saw the movie already ... Beautiful, poetic, powerful, moving, and thought provoking. Del Toro should win Best Actor at the Oscars for sure. I wouldn't hesitate to say it was one of the top 5 films I've seen in the last decade (and I watch alot of movies). The scenery is breath taking, while Del Toro as Che is magnetic. A heroic film for a heroic man. --- Hasta la Victoria Siempre ---
Movienator on Dec 21, 2008
#7- Isn't that what subtitles are for? I don't know shit about spanish and I enjoyed the film.
BahHumbug on Dec 21, 2008
For up to date info on this film ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Che_(film) El Che Vive <3
Good Link on Dec 21, 2008
thank god i was planning on catching it the 12th in nyc but work n school got in the way i was pissed but now i can go and watch it as it is meant to be seen!
RoseGold on Dec 21, 2008
by far the best movie i've ever seen... the first part of the movie was kind of long but it was needed... i'm in AWWW.... a must see movie!!!!!
Trina on Jan 3, 2009
I just want to know when the movie is going to be released here in Portland, Oregon. We have a very large latino community that would love to see it. Any info would be appreciated
Jesus Bruno on Jan 13, 2009
The movie is great. It deserves the time and mental effort. Be williing to watch a movie that moves you to think instead of just special effects and fiction.
Maria on Mar 25, 2009
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