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Che: Part One


Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by Steven Soderbergh 
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Demián Bichir, Rodrigo Santoro  
An image from Che: Part One

Inexplicably overlooked by the Academy during award season, an incredibly worthy performance from Benicio Del Toro as the titular character Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’, the first part of the double-epic Che, demands not to be overlooked by you. Despite his remarkable resemblance, Del Toro does not just portray Guevara; he embodies him, and it is truly incredible to watch. Marking a change of direction for Stephen Soderbergh (of Ocean’s Eleven and Sex, Lies and Videotape fame), Che: Part One is a brilliantly accomplished biopic charting his first revolution in Cuba. Originally presented with the subheading, ‘The Argentine’ (Part Two: The Guerilla), Che Part One illustrates the story behind the legend. The face that adorns so many student t-shirts finally gets the cinematic back-story from a film-maker still on a high from his 2000 Best Director Oscar win for Traffic, and is still at the top of his game.

In fact, it is arguably the director’s greatest achievement and undoubtedly the most fulfilling. The film is truly performance-driven. Del Toro, who has shown his acting quality since his early days in The Usual Suspects, is beautifully supported by some truly astonishing cinematography - the final street-battle sequences in contention for best scenes of 2009 - and great support, in particular, from Demian Bircher as Fidel Castro. The film portrays a complex human being, rather than having to rely on the legend passed down in the subsequent decades through folklore. With WSC showing Part Two in quick succession, it’s imperative you track this down now and witness one of the greatest biographical accounts of a true individual since the turn of the Millennium.

Jack Porter

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Screenings of this film:

2008/2009 Summer Term (35mm)