Benicio Del Toro as Che Guevara

Over the past several months we have seen a few leaked photos of Benicio Del Toro in the lead role of Steven Soderbergh’s 2008 double-header of Che Guevara biopics, The Argentine and Guerilla, but these two new photos (above and below) are the first official looks. This two part look at the life of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara de la Serna will take its bow at the Festival de Cannes, which gets underway later this week.

Benicio Del Toro as Che Guevara

Our friends at Slashfilm have come up with these two new pics (which can be enlarged through the act of clicking) of Mr. Del Toro as Guevara, as well as a few plot details, which can be found below:

The running time for the two films combined is a whopping 268 minutes, or four and a half hours long. Let’s take a look at the newly released official plot synopsis:

PART ONE
On November 26, 1956, Fidel Castro sails to Cuba with eighty rebels. One of those rebels is Ernesto “Che” Guevara, an Argentine doctor who shares a common goal with Fidel Castro – to overthrow the corrupt dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.

Che proves indispensable as a fighter, and quickly grasps the art of guerrilla warfare. As he throws himself into the struggle, Che is embraced by his comrades and the Cuban people. This film tracks Che’s rise in the Cuban Revolution, from doctor to commander to revolutionary hero.

PART TWO
After the Cuban Revolution, Che is at the height of his fame and power. Then he disappears, re-emerging incognito in Bolivia, where he organizes a small group of Cuban comrades and Bolivian recruits to start the great Latin American Revolution.

The story of the Bolivian campaign is a tale of tenacity, sacrifice, idealism, and of guerrilla warfare that ultimately fails, bringing Che to his death. Through this story, we come to understand how Che remains a symbol of idealism and heroism that lives in the hearts of people around the world.

This film (or films, rather) remind me of a discussion that I just had yesterday with my mother and younger brother, who is a senior in high school. Apparently my little bro got into it with one of his high school teachers because they were going to show the movie Juno as part of their business class. Now, I love Juno just as much, if not more than the next guy, but I must agree with my younger sibling in that I don’t see the educational value here. Were they using Juno to look at the tactics of successful grassroots, college campus based marketing? No. They were watching it just to watch it, because of a lazy educator — sad.

Where that story relates to the Che biopics is in the fact that schools should be looking at films like this as educational vehicles, not films like Juno. This is a good example of a non-documentary film that may have some educational value. I know that I am looking forward to learning something from Soderbergh’s films, as I seem to have skipped over Guevara in my time.

The Argentine will arrive in theaters on June 26th, with Guerilla following with a July 24th release.


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