Friday, December 6, 2019

Richard Fleischer's Che!

Che! is a 1969 American biographical drama film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Omar Sharif as Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
It follows Guevara from when he first landed in Cuba in 1956 to his death in Bolivia in 1967, although the film does not portray the formative pre-Cuban revolution sections of Che's life as described in the autobiographical book The Motorcycle Diaries (1993).
The film was directed by Richard Fleischer who stated before filming: “An enormous amount of pressure has been brought to bear on this film - both for and against the subject. Each group is afraid we're going to favor the other. The picture will be a character study, and I will only say that it is neither pro nor anti Guevera. The printing of his diary caused only minor changes to the picture... I consider our sources for information impeccable and I cannot tell you who they are.”
"We are doing purely the story Che, the person, not the movement," said producer Sy Bartlett. "We want to show what happened with the people who touched his life."
Filming started in October in Puerto Rico. The island was chosen because South America was considered too politically unstable.
The film received mostly negative reviews at the time of its release. Film critic Roger Ebert panned the film and the motivations for producing the drama, writing: "From the beginning, it sounded like a bad dream. Hollywood was making a movie about Che Guevara. Why? Probably because somebody smelled easy money, having been inspired by the sales figures on Che posters. That must have been the reason, because Che! is abundant evidence that no one connected with this stinkeroo gave a damn about Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, the Cuban Revolution or anything else requiring more than five seconds' thought".

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