Radical differences: a guide to telling your revolutionary biopics apart
Tomorrow night at the Walter Reade Theater, Film Comment Selects a biopic of a certain fatigue-sporting folk hero best known for leading the Cuban revolution.
This, my friends, is the rarely screened 1969 classic starring Omar Sharif embodying the indelible visage of emblazoned upon the threadbare t-shirts of grad students everywhere. And between Richard Fleischer’s blast-from-the-past biopic Che! and Soderbergh’s groundbreaking Spanish-language epic, there are some radical differences. To wit…
Soderbergh (Che): Famous for putting Sundance on the map with 1989’s Sex, Lies, and Videotape.
Fleischer (Che!): Famous for helming the film that brought the world the phrase: “…is made out of people!!!”
Castro was played by…
Che: Demián Bichir, a Mexican actor
Che!: Jack Palance, the famous one-armed push-up doing Oscar winner
Che: working characteristically fast and loose, Soderbergh shot Che himself, using a brand-new hi-def camera called The RedONE. The first half of the film was shot in anamorphic, while the second half was confined to a less wide-screen scope. [Watch Soderbergh talk about his process in an exclusive Film Society Q&A]
Che!: Widescreen all the way–this feature was pure Hollywood production.
If you saw Che, or even the Motorcycle Diaries, Che! is a new lens on understanding a pivotal historical moment. And it just goes to show: one exclamation point can mean a world of difference.
Buy your tickets now: Tue Oct 28: 6:35