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The SOMB Best Films Of 2008


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#21 Henrietta

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 09:53 AM

Oh, I didn't know about the references things. What's the deal with that?

"The Dying Animal" for Elegy is the title of the Philip Roth book on which it's based. A much better title, in my opinion.

#22 Hero

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 11:56 AM

is it too late to vote?


I believe polls closed at about 5 pm central time on the 15th.


you're obviously still too relatively new to get that joke
"the ladies have been checking me out lately.... could it be the 10 push-ups i've been cranking out every other Sunday? - Perhaps!" -Scrubs


Some people are a lot like slinkys... kinda useless, not really good for anything -but still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs

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"After much thought into this, I have finally come to a conclusion as to why the ‘Meet the Spartans’ commercial is so funny:

It is an interesting choice to have Sanjaya sing ‘I’m not gay,’ as his final words on earth. As he is plummeting into a seemingly bottomless pit, he does not say ‘dear god no,’ ‘I love you mom,’ or even simply ‘argh.’ He instead takes the moment to reaffirm to the world, in spite of their doubts, that he is not a homosexual. Not only that, but he continues to sing, despite falling to his certain death. The distinct lack of plausibility of this situation is what produces giggles from our mouth. It is the antithesis to the belief that ‘it’s funny because it is true.’
"


#23 Vivian Darkbloom

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:00 PM

Elemeno- Are all the blurbs already assigned? :(
The God of language forgives all crimes. -W.H. Auden ***** Anthony B, Independent, March 16 Black Mountain, Rickshaw Stop, March 20 Earthless, Wooden Shjips, Cafe du Nord, March 28 Mastodon, Kylesa, Intronaut, Great American Music Hall, April 19 Opeth, Enslaved, Regency Grand Ballroom, May 14 Sun Kil Moon, Great American Music Hall, May 29

#24 Mitchell

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:06 PM

is it too late to vote?


I believe polls closed at about 5 pm central time on the 15th.


you're obviously still too relatively new to get that joke


The earnest response was hilarious though.
Nice bowl of Crunchy Nut you got here, pretty expensive as I recall.

#25 Elemeno P.T.

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:24 PM

Elemeno- Are all the blurbs already assigned? :(

No- I haven't gotten any of them out yet. I'll assign half of them today. If anyone has a movie they would particularly like to blurb let me know now. Otherwise, I'm just sending pm's out, whether you volunteered or not. Please make sure to reply back ASAP if you will not be taking the assignment.

Damn Go Daddy- I was pressing "reply" after finishing #58 when that bastard struck.
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#26 Duff.

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:25 PM

I got some looks for laughing. Undo got full points, right?

No, it'll be stupid, and we're already doing something stupid.
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#27 Bob Loblaw

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:31 PM

I'll be getting my list up sometime today, you want it in this thread or the voting one? Feel free to assign me a blurb for anything.

#28 Agrimorfee

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:31 PM

...(sung to the tune of The Notre Dame Fight Song)
Cheer, Cheer for the Irish hit men
They'll fight Ray Fiennes til' the bitter end
Gays, blacks, whites, obese and midgets
Comments so cruel, in your seats you'll fidget

What though his suicide is a ruse
Such is another day in Bruges
While the tourists linger onward into the eerie mist...

...(sung to the tune of The Joker)
You're the cruelest thing that I ever did see
Show me that cool trick, slam your pen into me.
Lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey all the time
Ooo-eee Batman, I'll sure show you a good time

Cuz he's a licker
he's a grinner
he's a bad guy
yeah, he's a sinner
murders people just for fuuuuuunnn

He's the Joker
he's a choker
got a face for poker
Heath sure deserved to see this one...wooohoooo...

...(sung to the tune of Mickey Mouse Club)
Who stepped up when Nick and Sly declined regretfully
Mic-key Ro-ur-ke
Who agreed to take no pay to work with Aronofsky
Mic-key Ro-ur-ke
Mickey Rourke- down on his luck
Mickey Rourke- career was stuck
Now he'll less regret he spent the 90's high, high, high
Who can nod 'yes' to a staple gun so casually
Mic- key Ro-ur-keeeeeeee...

...(sung to the tune of Mr. Cab Driver)
Mr. Driving Instructor, stop your thoughts and let her in
Mr. Driving Instructor, preoccupied with others' sins
Mr. Driving Instructor, he ain't never gonna win

Mr. Driving Instructor, thinks to himself about the girl
Mr. Driving Instructor, won't admit she's rocked his world
Mr. Driving Instructor, no one's ever smiled off him
Mr. Driving Instructor, stop your thoughts and let her in
Let her in
Mr. Driving Instructor...

...(sung to the tune of Tiny Dancer)
But oh how it feels so real
sitting here, in this game show chair
when only you, and you can hear me
when I say softly...surely...
Aramis my final answer
Count the rupees, 20 million
for "it is written" let's stop the tease
so it's time, the envelope please....


The Master Parodist approves heartily. :)

"Is everyone on here just an act sometimes?"--Hummingbird

Read all of my stupid song parodies here. Latest song improved/ruined: "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by Alice Cooper.

 

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#29 Elemeno P.T.

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:02 PM

"tick tick tick tick"

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58. Standard Operating Procedure

Directed by: Errol Morris

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0896866/

link to an interesting take on the subject:
http://www.ethicssco...om/list/24.html


From Roger Ebert's 4 star review:

Errol Morris' "Standard Operating Procedure," based on the infamous prison torture photographs from Abu Ghraib, is completely unlike anything I was expecting from such a film -- more disturbing, analytical and morose. This is not a "political" film nor yet another screed about the Bush administration or the war in Iraq. It is driven simply, powerfully, by the desire to understand those photographs.

There are thousands of them, mostly taken not from the point of view of photojournalism, but in the spirit of home snapshots. They show young Americans, notably Lynndie England, posing with prisoners of war who are handcuffed in grotesque positions, usually naked, heads often covered with their underpants, sometimes in sexual positions. Miss England, who was about 20 at the time and weighed scarcely 100 pounds, often has a cigarette hanging from her mouth in a show of tough-guy bravado. But the effect is not to draw attention to her as the person who ordered these tableaux, but as a part of them. Some other force, not seen, is sensed as shaping them.
This invisible presence, we discover, is named Charles Graner, a staff sergeant Lynndie was in love with, who is more than 15 years her senior. She does what he suggests. She doesn't question. But then few questions are asked by most of the Americans in the photographs, who are not so much performing the acts as being photographed performing them.

"Pictures only show you a fraction of a second," says a Marine named Javel Davis, who was a prison guard but is not seen in any of them. "You don't see forward and you don't see backward. You don't see outside the frame." He is expressing the central questions of the film: Why do these photos exist, why were they taken and what reality do they reflect? What do we think about these people?

Those are the questions at the heart of many of Morris' films, all the way back to his first, "Gates of Heaven" (1978), in which to this day I am unable to say what he feels about his subjects or what they think of themselves. The answers would be less interesting anyway than the eternally enigmatic questions. Morris' favorite point of view is the stare. He chooses his subjects, regards them almost impassively, allows their usually strange stories to tell themselves.

There is not a voice raised in "S.O.P." The tone is set by a sad, elegiac, sometimes relentless score by Danny Elfman. The subject, in addition to the photographs, is Morris' interview subjects, seen in a mosaic of closeups as they speak about what it was like to be at Abu Ghraib. Most of them speak either in sorrow or resentment, muted, incredulous. How had they found themselves in that situation?

Yes, unspeakable acts of cruelty were committed in the prison. But not personally, if we can believe them, by the interviewees. The torturers seem to have been military intelligence specialists in interrogation. They, too, are following orders, and choose to disregard the theory that the information is useless since if you torture a man enough he will tell you anything.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to be suspended by having my hands shackled behind my back so tightly I might lose them. Or feeling I am being drowned. And so on -- this need not be a litany of horrors.

More to the point of this film is that the prison wardens received their prisoners after the tortures were mostly committed, and then posed with them in ghastly "human pyramids," "dog piles" or in scenes with sexual innuendo. Again, why? "For the picture." The taking of the photos seems to have been the motivation for the instants they reveal. And, as a speaker observes in the film, if there had been no photos, the moments they depict would not have existed, and the scandal of Abu Ghraib would not have taken place.

Yes, some of those we see in "Standard Operating Procedure" were paid for their testimony. Morris acknowledges that. He did not tell them what to say. I personally believed what they were telling me. What it came down to was, they found themselves under orders that they did not understand, involved in situations to provide a lifetime of nightmares.

They were following orders, yes. But whose? Any orders to torture would have had to come from those with a rank of staff sergeant or above. But all of those who were tried, found guilty and convicted after Abu Ghraib were below that rank. At the highest level, results were demanded -- find information on the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein (whose eventual capture did not result from any information pried loose by torture). At lower levels, the orders were translated into using torture. But there was a deliberate cutoff between the high level demanding the results and the intermediate level authorizing the violation of U.S. and international law by the use of torture.

At the opening of the film, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is seen, his blue blazer hooked over one shoulder, his white dress shirt immaculate, "touring" Abu Ghraib. He is shown one cell, then cancels his tour. He doesn't want to see any more.

And so little Lynndie England is left with her fellow soldiers as the face of the scandal. And behind the photos of her and others lurk the enigmatic figure of Sgt. Charles Graner, who was not allowed by the military to be interviewed for this film. I imagine him as the kind of guy we all knew in high school, snickering in the corner, sharing thoughts we did not want to know with friends we did not want to make. If he posed many of the photos (and gave away countless copies of them), was it because he enjoyed being at one remove from their subjects? The captors were seen dominating their captives, and he was in the role, with his camera, of dominating both.

Remember the photo of Lynndie posing with the prisoner on a leash? His name, we learn, was Gus. Lynndie says she wasn't dragging him: "You can see the leash was slack." She adds: "He would never had me standing next to Gus if the camera wasn't there."

Ranked Highest By: undo- #5
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#30 caley

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:06 PM

Hmm, I've seen something like 70 films from this past year, yet I have yet to see anything on this list. Is 'Elegy' really any good? I got it confused with 'Eulogy' which was one of my mother and sister's choices to watch one year and both absolutely DETESTED it.

"'I Love My Dad' is the only one that slightly annoys me, maybe because I never loved my dad."

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#31 killerparties

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:10 PM

Elegy is fantastic. The director, Isabel Coixet, was chosen specifically because she is incredible with actors. She gets four great performances from Kinglsey, Cruz, Clarkson, and Hopper, but doesn't get bogged down with teary breakdowns or shit like that. It's a sad, beautiful work.
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#32 Elemeno P.T.

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:11 PM

Ogawa correct. yes, undo got a point for Bob Seger Loblaw- go ahead and post it in the voting thread and I'll include it in "ranked highest by". Thanks, aggie...now if I could just get on LOPP, my dreams of one day posting something archive worthy might come true. B)
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#33 Bob Loblaw

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:16 PM

Ogawa correct.

yes, undo got a point for Bob Seger

Loblaw- go ahead and post it in the voting thread and I'll include it in "ranked highest by".

Thanks, aggie...now if I could just get on LOPP, my dreams of one day posting something archive worthy might come true. B)



The GoDaddy takeover squished your avatar. Weird.

#34 Slackmo

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:51 PM

Ogawa correct.

yes, undo got a point for Bob Seger

Loblaw- go ahead and post it in the voting thread and I'll include it in "ranked highest by".

Thanks, aggie...now if I could just get on LOPP, my dreams of one day posting something archive worthy might come true. B)



The GoDaddy takeover squished your avatar. Weird.

refresh, dude
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#35 Henrietta

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:53 PM

Restarting my comp fixed the GoDaddy problems I was having.

#36 Slackmo

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:55 PM

I love Errol Morris films--I wish I'd caught that one before the poll.
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#37 Henrietta

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:56 PM

I love Errol Morris films--I wish I'd caught that one before the poll.

Great film. I'm surprised it didn't get more notice this year. New Errol Morris should be an Event!

#38 nole.kennedy

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 02:07 PM

"tick tick tick tick"

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

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58. Standard Operating Procedure

Directed by: Errol Morris

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0896866/

link to an interesting take on the subject:
http://www.ethicssco...om/list/24.html


From Roger Ebert's 4 star review:

Errol Morris' "Standard Operating Procedure," based on the infamous prison torture photographs from Abu Ghraib, is completely unlike anything I was expecting from such a film -- more disturbing, analytical and morose. This is not a "political" film nor yet another screed about the Bush administration or the war in Iraq. It is driven simply, powerfully, by the desire to understand those photographs.

There are thousands of them, mostly taken not from the point of view of photojournalism, but in the spirit of home snapshots. They show young Americans, notably Lynndie England, posing with prisoners of war who are handcuffed in grotesque positions, usually naked, heads often covered with their underpants, sometimes in sexual positions. Miss England, who was about 20 at the time and weighed scarcely 100 pounds, often has a cigarette hanging from her mouth in a show of tough-guy bravado. But the effect is not to draw attention to her as the person who ordered these tableaux, but as a part of them. Some other force, not seen, is sensed as shaping them.
This invisible presence, we discover, is named Charles Graner, a staff sergeant Lynndie was in love with, who is more than 15 years her senior. She does what he suggests. She doesn't question. But then few questions are asked by most of the Americans in the photographs, who are not so much performing the acts as being photographed performing them.

"Pictures only show you a fraction of a second," says a Marine named Javel Davis, who was a prison guard but is not seen in any of them. "You don't see forward and you don't see backward. You don't see outside the frame." He is expressing the central questions of the film: Why do these photos exist, why were they taken and what reality do they reflect? What do we think about these people?

Those are the questions at the heart of many of Morris' films, all the way back to his first, "Gates of Heaven" (1978), in which to this day I am unable to say what he feels about his subjects or what they think of themselves. The answers would be less interesting anyway than the eternally enigmatic questions. Morris' favorite point of view is the stare. He chooses his subjects, regards them almost impassively, allows their usually strange stories to tell themselves.

There is not a voice raised in "S.O.P." The tone is set by a sad, elegiac, sometimes relentless score by Danny Elfman. The subject, in addition to the photographs, is Morris' interview subjects, seen in a mosaic of closeups as they speak about what it was like to be at Abu Ghraib. Most of them speak either in sorrow or resentment, muted, incredulous. How had they found themselves in that situation?

Yes, unspeakable acts of cruelty were committed in the prison. But not personally, if we can believe them, by the interviewees. The torturers seem to have been military intelligence specialists in interrogation. They, too, are following orders, and choose to disregard the theory that the information is useless since if you torture a man enough he will tell you anything.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to be suspended by having my hands shackled behind my back so tightly I might lose them. Or feeling I am being drowned. And so on -- this need not be a litany of horrors.

More to the point of this film is that the prison wardens received their prisoners after the tortures were mostly committed, and then posed with them in ghastly "human pyramids," "dog piles" or in scenes with sexual innuendo. Again, why? "For the picture." The taking of the photos seems to have been the motivation for the instants they reveal. And, as a speaker observes in the film, if there had been no photos, the moments they depict would not have existed, and the scandal of Abu Ghraib would not have taken place.

Yes, some of those we see in "Standard Operating Procedure" were paid for their testimony. Morris acknowledges that. He did not tell them what to say. I personally believed what they were telling me. What it came down to was, they found themselves under orders that they did not understand, involved in situations to provide a lifetime of nightmares.

They were following orders, yes. But whose? Any orders to torture would have had to come from those with a rank of staff sergeant or above. But all of those who were tried, found guilty and convicted after Abu Ghraib were below that rank. At the highest level, results were demanded -- find information on the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein (whose eventual capture did not result from any information pried loose by torture). At lower levels, the orders were translated into using torture. But there was a deliberate cutoff between the high level demanding the results and the intermediate level authorizing the violation of U.S. and international law by the use of torture.

At the opening of the film, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is seen, his blue blazer hooked over one shoulder, his white dress shirt immaculate, "touring" Abu Ghraib. He is shown one cell, then cancels his tour. He doesn't want to see any more.

And so little Lynndie England is left with her fellow soldiers as the face of the scandal. And behind the photos of her and others lurk the enigmatic figure of Sgt. Charles Graner, who was not allowed by the military to be interviewed for this film. I imagine him as the kind of guy we all knew in high school, snickering in the corner, sharing thoughts we did not want to know with friends we did not want to make. If he posed many of the photos (and gave away countless copies of them), was it because he enjoyed being at one remove from their subjects? The captors were seen dominating their captives, and he was in the role, with his camera, of dominating both.

Remember the photo of Lynndie posing with the prisoner on a leash? His name, we learn, was Gus. Lynndie says she wasn't dragging him: "You can see the leash was slack." She adds: "He would never had me standing next to Gus if the camera wasn't there."

Ranked Highest By: undo- #5


How disturbing is this film? I really want to see it as I have very stong feelings on the subject. But that said, I don't want to have nightmere's for the next week or so. Any advise?


The GoDaddy takeover...

What the hell was that all about? That was so wierd.
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#39 killerparties

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 02:12 PM

So, Elemeno, do these clues get posted before you post the rest of the pics/movie title and everything? Or are you supposed to just figure out how the clue fits into the movie?
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#40 Elemeno P.T.

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 02:17 PM

"Finally someone let me out of my cage
Now, time for me is nothing cos I'm counting no age
Now I couldn't be there
Now you shouldn't be scared
I'm good at repairs
And I'm under each snare
Intangible
Bet you didn't think so I command you to"


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57. Che

Directed by: Miguel Torres

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0398848/

Cynthia Fuchs (Pop Matters) 8 out of 10 review:

Ernesto Guevara (Benicio Del Toro) is filthy, his hair matted, his beard unkempt. Wounded and weak from loss of blood, he looks pale. His Bolivian captor appears cocky but also surprised: he and his men have charge of the most famous self-proclaimed revolutionary of his time, the inspiring leader of a guerrilla band who has been attacking the Bolivian army for months. Now, assessing his prize, the captain makes a pronouncement both mundane and astute: “A lot of people will want a photograph of you.”

It’s 1967, and Che is about to be executed. As he is imagined near the end of Che, he is self-aware and gallant, defiant but also troubled. After a brief effort to persuade one young guard to untie him, he seems resigned to his fate: “Shoot him below the neck,” orders the captain, presumably to preserve the iconic face for photos, proof of life and death, and to be able to deny the execution itself: Che, the official story goes, died of combat injuries sustained in the hills near La Higuera. Steven Soderbergh’s massive accounting of Guevara’s career as a revolutionary doesn’t mention suspicions that the U.S., in particular the CIA, had anything to do with the decision to execute Che, though it does indicate that Bolivian President René Barrientos (Joaquim de Almeida) was working with U.S. supervisors to train his own special forces. As this work is modeled after “similar operations in Vietnam,” as one U.S representative puts it, the film makes clear enough its insidious nature.

In its version of Che’s death, the movie also makes clear its reverence for the man and legend, despite his errors and its exploitations. Following a shot of his corpse carried on a stretcher, the film cuts to an earlier image, Che on a boat en route from Mexico to Cuba, where he spends the first half of this four-hour-plus epic, helping Fidel Castro (Demián Bichir) and his brother Raul (Rodrigo Santoro) to overthrow General Fulgencio Batista. The boat’s lively blue wake behind him, Che looks in this frame to be full of hope and energy, his expression thoughtful and figure youthful, much like the most famous photographs of him—disseminated so widely and for so many years after his death.

In an abstract sense, the film is about the dissemination of Che Guevara the icon, as it is also the saga of Che refashioned. Each half is based on a book by Guevara (Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War and The Bolivian Diary), but neither takes a single perspective or tells one story. Taken apart, the halves suggest a conventional narrative split (say, rise and fall, promise and failure), but together they form a beguiling sort of disorder. Shot by Soderbergh (under his cinematographer’s alias, “Peter Andrews"), the film’s imagery is precisely meaningful: handheld and raucous for battles, observational during political discussions; framed by mirrors, windows and doorways; black-and-white and archivalish as he speaks before the United Nations in 1964; distractingly close—on his beard, on his cigar—when he’s interviewed by journalist Lisa Howard (Julia Ormond).

His answers to her questions provide a glimpse of his social and political thinking, and especially the ideals that will be only partly realized. “Men with the desire to fight,” he explains, “who also understand why they are fighting regardless of who they are fighting, whether under the command of military geniuses or those of normal intelligence, fighting with clubs or with machine guns that fire 30 rounds a minute, these men will put themselves in the most advantageous conditions for fighting and they will triumph.” In Cuba, the struggle is deemed successful; in Bolivia, ambition outstrips pragmatism. “I need peasants,” he tells a comrade, but he is unable to win over the locals to fight for what he sees as their own “freedom.”

This incomprehension is a function, the film suggests, of multiple forces, from government propaganda to undisciplined fighters to Che’s own distance from the people he means to help. Though he appears repeatedly as a doctor—treating infections and injuries, checking children’s mouths and eyes—he is more often crouched in brush or leaning against trees (gasping from his chronic asthma), endeavoring to lead his rebels into a future they can’t see as well as he does.

The film cuts back and forth in time, suggesting the many fragments that comprise Guevara’s story, as well as the impossibility of arranging them into a linear chronology. As he and Fidel put together the Cuban campaign, he is repeatedly referred to as “Argentino,” the foreigner, thinker, and medical doctor who pledges himself to the revolutionary cause. This first half of the film, which ends more or less in 1959, when Batista falls, includes as well his visit to New York, his exhortations against American imperialism (which “has led people to believe that peaceful coexistence is the exclusive right of the worlds most powerful nations"), his understanding of commercial promotion for a cause like his (asked whether he wants makeup for the interview, he says no, then changes his mind: “Maybe a little powder").

This vision of himself—as advocate and product—is of a piece with Fidel’s self-image (as military leader, as director of men and systems), but it is also true to Che’s complicated legacy. The movie acknowledges his personal passions, especially in his political pronouncements, and also in his briefly noted romances with wife and fellow guerrilla Aleida (Catalina Sandino Moreno), with whom he has five children, mostly off-screen, and with the less easily delineated comrade Tania (Franka Potente), but it doesn’t do much to parse his personal demons, his conflicts and desires, his relationships beyond their surfaces.

At once an historical figure and emblem, he resists reduction. As a sign of the guerrilla fighter as filmmaker (see: Amy Taubin’s much-quoted Film Comment piece), this Che struggles against history and time, expectations and projections, his own body and his own myth. Ever aware of his own small place in the stories he helps to forge, he is at once egotistical and humble. As he advises a young acolyte, “Little boy, no one is so necessary or indispensable in this life. Don’t go thinking that you are indispensable.” As his image looms, he remains aptly cryptic.



Ranked Highest By: Dan- #8
Oskar, Oskar Oskar!