Oscar-winner Steven Soderbergh delivers this ambitious and sprawling biopic of one of the 20th Century’s most influential political figures. In the second 130-minute segment, Guerilla , Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Benicio Del Toro) has abandoned Cuba in order to start an even more daunting Latin-American revolution. He starts in Bolivia where, using a pseudonym, Che begins training his cobbled-together forces. This time around, however, Che’s asthma is taking a greater toll, and the odds are stacked much higher against him. Yet even when the cause appears to be lost, Che remains defiant. Having accomplished the impossible in Cuba, he is determined to do the same thing here. But unfortunately time catches up to him, putting an end to his mission once and for all. For the second segment of his two-part epic, Soderbergh changes his style, reflecting the tougher battle that Che confronted in Bolivia. Gone is the glorious widescreen photography; replacing it is a more claustrophobic 1:85 ratio. Also gone is the tripod, which produces a much more frenetic, unstable effect for the viewer. As Che wheezes his way through the woods, learning of the loss of more and more soldiers, Soderbergh prepares us, through his cinematography and Alberto Iglesias’s foreboding score, for his inevitable fall from glory. Once again, Del Toro is phenomenal in bringing the notorious Che to life on screen. Watched in succession, Soderbergh and Del Toro’s Che is a grueling experience, yet it is rewarding in a way that few films are.
Special Presentation in conjunction with Che 1 (October 13: 7pm) — $8 for a single film, $12 for both — 6-packs do not apply.