The Revolution Will Not Stop Being Televised
Published December 8, 2008
Che, Steven Soderbergh’s four-hour epic about the political journey of the infamous Ernesto “Che” Guevara through Castro’s 1959 governmental overthrow, will open in select theaters for a week starting December 12. The movie follows Benicio del Toro’s Che from the mountains of pre-Communist Cuba to his 1964 trip to the UN in New York and beyond. It even, believe it or not, throws a few sassy NYC cocktail party moments into the mix.
Of course, there is nothing exactly revolutionary about making a movie about Che. To quote the wise words of the IMDB tagline of the 1969 film that also bears his name, Che is “The Most Controversial Rebel Of Our Time!” In fact, according to a highly sophisticated IMDB/Netflix hybrid search, more than 20 related films, TV specials, and/or documentaries have the word “Che” in the title alone—which, of course, doesn’t take into account such genre stalwarts as The Motorcycle Diaries.
It’s important to remember that Che was not the only finely chiseled guerrilla worth making a movie about. Check below for a quick roundup of other revolutionary must-sees to keep you red-hot through the winter.
Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2004)
When a teenage heiress joins a violent urban guerrilla group, you know the resulting documentary will not disappoint. The Patty Hearst kidnapping saga was perhaps among the most fascinating in American history, and this account of it is not to be missed.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2003)
True, Hugo Chavez is not quite as visually arresting as the iconic Guevara, but he is (arguably) much, much crazier. This documentary about the 2002 coup d’état in Venezuela, in which the controversial Chavez was briefly ousted from the presidency, captures the culture of the nation’s political chaos with disturbing accuracy.
Before Night Falls (2000)
Julian Schnabel’s film about Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas—who was jailed for being gay (it probably didn’t help that he was an artist, either)—calls attention to the less glamorous effects of the revolution on human rights and civil liberties.
Our Brand is Crisis (2005)
What happens when you throw a bunch of American political consultants in Bolivia and let them try to win an election? The other guy (in this case, Evo Morales) starts a revolution.
Eighties-era Warren Beatty + Diane Keaton + 1917 Bolshevik Revolution = Foolproof success. Also two Oscars.