Toronto Star critic Peter Howell yesterday posted the results of the eighth annual “Chasing the Buzz” poll surrounding the Toronto Film Festival, which runs 9.4 to 9.13.

The poll respondents include USA Today‘s Suzie Woz, Cinematical‘s James Rocchi and Kim Voynar, Movie City NewsDavid Poland, Reel Views’ James Berardinelli, Variety and CinemaScope’s Robert Koehler, UC Santa Cruz film prof B. Ruby Rich, Monsters and Critics reviewer and MSN columnist Anne Brodie, Variety‘s Anne Thompson and myself.
Expressing interest in seeing Steven Soderbergh‘s Che epic, Brodie writes that it’ll be “keen to see how Soderbergh glamorizes a brutal mass murderer who became a symbol of peace.”
First, Che Guevara has never been a symbol of peace — he’s always been a symbol of ’60s revolution in all of its glam, up-against-it, colllege-wall-poster glory. Second, Guevara did, of course, oversee the executions of Batista loyalists following the Cuban revolution. However (and I’m not saying this to excuse the Cuban executions but to explain the thinking) you can’t have a pristine lawn unless you pull up the weeds and the dandelions. (Ask Chauncey Gardiner about that.)
On top of which I would imagine any spirited combatant would succumb to a payback attitude after winning a tough war against a vicious opponent. (News bulletin for Brodie: the pro-Batista forces fought in an extremely savage and un-cricket way against the shaggy scruffs led by Guevara and Fidel Castro.)
On top of which all leaders of all victorious revolutions and military campaigns (including George Washington, George Bush, Gen. George S. Patton, Julius Caesar, Pol Pot, Chou en Lai, Mao Zedong, Nikolai Lenin, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant, Napoleon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan, Omar Bradley, Curtis LeMay, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, etc.) have either directly caused or given orders that led to the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of people, and not just among the enemy. War and revolution are not games of tiddly-winks.