“I’ve just watched the entirety of Che,”says HE reader Yu Zun, “and absolutely, unequivocally loved it! I cannot imagine watching the two films separately. Did the film’s monk-like aesthetic distance and commitment remind you at all of Barry Lyndon? I feel that both films, in their hands-off portrayal of the central character, ultimately present the most compassionate portrait we can ascribe to a human being. They can only be judged, if at all, through their actions, and by the viewer’s lens, and not by the generic filmmaker’s sermon.
“This — i.e., the sermon — consists of the dramatic, narrative elements that are supposed to humanize the hero. It’s the basic building block of a well-made and involving narrative film. But the stuff of great movies demands more — a personality and deeper thought beyond that label, and Che and Barry Lyndon do not partake in that sermon. They forego what we expect to find in a film that’s centered around one character. Che and Barry Lyndon are as removed from us as the people that live under our roofs. I thought that decision, in both films, was a very brave, perhaps even stubborn, choice.
“So Erenst Che Guevara’s actions simply ARE, and the man behind the action becomes a contradiction through what he does. In a way, the film is the character. There is no sermon, there is no gospel — just the facts. The film pays high respect to the viewers, by acknowledging that we are merely interpreters of identical facts — no more, no less. Whether it’s a high-art fuck-you or an act of faith, I suppose, depends on who you are.”