Che: Part One



The first half of Steven Soderbergh's monumental two-movie portrait of Che Guevara has arrived: opaque and enigmatic enough, probably, to count as a "diptych". Those hoping for a rich, warm dramatisation in the manner of Walter Salles's 2004 film The Motorcycle Diaries, about Che's early life, will have a shock in store. For this is a very austere film which does not regard its job as getting under the skin of the world's famous revolutionary, or finding out what makes him tick. This film only shows Che the public man, addressing his comrades over dinner, or addressing his soldiers in the jungle, or addressing the international delegates at the United Nations.

Che never goes off duty in this epic, and those who stick with it over both movies may well be perplexed at how very little of Che's life it covers. Starring Benicio del Toro as Che and Demián Bichir as Fidel, this first film shows him making landfall on Cuba with his fellow insurrectionists and then tracks his progress, in what feels like real time, until the victory of 1959: this action is interspersed with his later, sensational appearance at the UN in New York in 1964. The second film shows his long, agonised, failed revolution in Bolivia - again, almost in minute-by-minute real time. (There is a faint resemblance, not unpleasant, to Woody Allen's Bananas.) Neither film will shed any light on his feelings about the missile crisis, his renunciation of Cuban citizenship and the apparent break with Fidel, or his aborted revolution in the Congo.

The two films show what could, only slightly facetiously, be called the "Palm Sunday" and "Good Friday" parts of his life story: victory and downfall. It is a spare, almost ascetic manner of film-making, and yet the cool downplaying serves its subject well; certainly, it's very different from the empathy of Salles's approach. The simple accretion of detail has a cumulative effect. The film is elaborately restrained, with a kind of documentarian's clampdown on dramatic or narrative temperature, and yet I found it involving. Steven Soderbergh's cinematography and Juan Pedro de Gaspar's art direction create a superbly persuasive sense of mood, time and place, though I wonder if Del Toro's performance was too gruff. Che himself may well have been more fluent and educated, and more obviously charming, than this film makes him look.

The only performance with which I can find fault is that of Catalina Sandino Moreno as his young guide. Moreno maintains a supercilious smile, and her body language, while she is under fire and in mortal danger, is quite ridiculously relaxed.

For all its severity and reserve, Soderbergh's Che is an adventure: massively serious and ambitious. It certainly underlines the film-maker's determination to maintain an absence of auteur identity: the director who made the Ocean's Eleven movies and the remake of Solaris has come up with something very different from either. It is far from being a biopic, more a cinematic extrapolation of Che's iconic status, and by that token it may exasperate some. Others will be engrossed by this flawed, sprawling, intriguing movie.

aborted – przerwany

accretion – nawarstwianie, przyrost

agonised – bolesny, cierpiący

austere – surowy, prosty

biopic – film biograficzny

clampdown – zakaz, ograniczenie

diptych – dyptyk

downplay – bagatelizować, umniejszać

elaborately – zawile, pracowicie

engrossed – zatopiony, pochłonięty

enigmatic – enigmatyczny, zagadkowy

exasperate – irytować, rozdrażniać

extrapolation – ekstrapolacja; szacowanie

facetiously – humorystycznie, żartobliwie

flawed – wadliwy, skażony

gruff – gburowaty, opryskliwy

in store – mieć się wydarzyć, mieć nastąpić

insurrectionist – powstaniec

interspersed – przeplatany

landfall – lądowanie

missile – pocisk, rakieta

opaque – mętny, nieprzejrzysty

perplexed – zdumiony, zakłopotany

persuasive – przekonywający

renunciation – odrzucenie

restrained – powściągliwie, umiarkowanie

shed light on – rzucać na (coś) światło

spare – oszczędny, prosty

sprawling – zamaszysty, z rozmachem

supercilious – wyniosły, butny, lekceważący

tick: what makes somebody tick – jakie są motywy czyjegoś działania

token – znak, pamiątka

track – śledzić, podążać tropem

Nie masz uprawnień do komentowania

Wszystko do nauki języków


Komunikat dla użytkowników:

Od dnia 7.01.2019 zaprzestaliśmy codziennego wysyłania listy słówek.

Zaloguj się lub zarejestruj aby skorzystać ze wszystkich funkcji portalu.

Czytelnia - treści losowe

Loading ...