Del Toro & His New Movie “Che”
Benicio Del Toro was recently interviewed by the Washington Times and left the interview when he was pressed by an opposing view of Che Guevara by one Armando Valladares, the Cuban dissident who was in 1959 imprisoned by the revolutionary regime. Amnesty International named Mr Valladares a prisoner of conscience and he is a board member of the Human Rights Foundation. So one can safely assume that Mr Valladares can speak about Che with some authority (and freedom as he is no longer in Cuba which remains under the Stalinist regime put into place by Che and Fidel Castro after toppling the Batista government and killing all their political opponents and anyone they thought might sort of maybe be a political opponent…and all the homosexuals, musicians, and artists too!).
According to the Washington Times, Mr Del Toro said he was “getting uncomfortable,” after he had to answer a question on his new movie’s portrayal of the Bolivian and Cuban revolutions by someone who was there. With the words”I’m done. I’m done, I hope you write whatever you want. I don’t give a damn.” Benicio left the interview.
Poor Benicio! He was just trying to make a movie about that guy he always sees on the t-shirts all the cool, clueless, college kids have been wearing for the past 40 years.
It’s not Benicio’s fault he was a brutal mass murderer! Why was the Washington Times being so mean to him?!?!?! He doesn’t deny that there were some darker aspects to Guevara. His excuse was that for the purposes of the movie they had to “omit a lot of stuff about his life, but [they]’re not omitting the fact that he’s for capital punishment, which is the essence of that.” Really?….Ummm, Benicio? Not to ruin your mellow but being ‘for capital punishment’ and ‘murdering people without fair trials’ are two VERY different things.
But Benicio had an answer for this whole capital punishment-arbitrary murder dispute ‘”They didn’t do it blindly, they had trials,” Mr. Del Toro insists. “They found them guilty, and they executed them – that’s capital punishment.”‘ Mr Valladares tells it a little differently though – ‘”Che Guevara executed dozens and dozens of people who never once stood trial and were never declared guilty,” [Mr. Valladares] says. “In his own words, he said the following: ‘At the smallest of doubt we must execute.’ And that’s what he did at the Sierra Maestra and the prison of Las Cabanas.”‘ Hmmm…tough call for me but sorry Benicio I think I am going to go with the guy who lived it versus you, who probably looked into the events and the man but everything you read is secondary evidence whereas Mr Valladares was there when the whole thing was happening and probably knew people in those above mentioned places.
The Washington Times also tells us that ‘[c]ritics of “Che” have suggested that it whitewashes its protagonist’s legacy and that it’s impossible to understand the man by glorifying his more romantic aspects while simultaneously ignoring his darker side.
“We can’t cover it all,” Mr. Del Toro says. “You can make your own movie. You know? You can make your own movie. And let’s see. Do the research.”‘
Good comeback, Benicio!
But let me get this straight, you made a FOUR AND A HALF HOUR MOVIE* AND YOU COULDN’T FIND THE TIME TO ‘COVER IT ALL’ SO YOU JUST WHITEWASHED A MAJOR ASPECT OF THE CHARACTER?!?!?!?!?!?! SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?! Can you say “Epic Fail!”
*Che’ is actually divided into 2 parts, Part One being 126 minutes and Part Two being 131 minutes
Of course in a way I can understand why Benicio Del Toro was so taken disturbed to have met Mr Valladares, according to The Independent when ‘Del Toro unveiled Che in Havana’s Yara cinema, he was treated to a 10-minute standing ovation from the 2,000-strong audience – many of whom were involved in the revolution.’ And according to CNN, “Granma, the official mouthpiece of the Cuban government, gave Del Toro a glowing review.” So all of the anxiety that CNN reported Del Toro had been feeling must have evaporated after those well received showings…hmm I guess Benicio didn’t take into account the fact that the people in Cuba know full well what regime they live under and knew when they went to see that movie that they damn well better clap or risk ending up in one of the gulags that the movie’s protagonist founded during his time in their country. Hmm, guess that didn’t occur to Benicio Del Toro. He was too busy lapping up the applause and adoration…must be the people of Cuba are as good or better actors than he is!
But c’mon Benicio, didn’t you read the CNN article I mentioned above? Two out of the three people who were interviewed by CNN about your movie refused to have themselves identified by their last names! “Catalina, a history professor who would give only her first name, was a tough critic. “The movie is well-done. It has good intentions,” she said. “But in my opinion, in the first part, the scenes in the jungle seemed a bit like a caricature.“
Even the person CNN interviewed who had nothing bad to say about the movie and liked it was too smart (scared?) to give his last name “…most [people in Cuba who saw the movie]– like a young Guevara lookalike who identified himself only as Daniel — were pleased. “It has captured history to perfection,” he said. “It has been well thought out and well-created.”“
I also love the fact that CNN made no comment on the fact that these people were too scared to give their full names. Yay mainstream media!
Mr Del Toro did you really expect the Cubans outside Cuba – most of whom left Cuba for the very specific reason of getting away from the murderous Stalinist regime and its oppression of its people – were going to like your movie?
What’s next for Hollywood? A movie about how ‘Uncle Joe’ (as fellow travelers affectionately referred to Joseph Stalin) rose up to live his dream of leading the peoples of Russia and its neighbors to building the perfect worker’s paradise with peace and love and understanding and never a harsh word, bullet to the head, or gulag sentence for anyone? HA!
But hey, maybe you’ll like the movie and/or are a fan of brutal Stalinist oppression and mass murdering regimes, this is just my $0.02, as always your comments are appreciated!