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45 years ago, Ernesto Che Guevara was killed by Bolivian forces with the backing of the CIA but yet rose to become one of the top 100 most influential people of the 20th century by Time magazine. Here are five movies that will show you what the revolutionary leader, revered as well as reviled, did to inspire such greatness.
Che is a two-part 2008 biopic about Ernesto "Che" Guevara directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Benicio del Toro. Rather than follow a standard chronological order, the films offer an oblique series of interspersed moments along the overall timeline. Part One is entitled The Argentine and focusses on the Cuban revolution from the landing of Fidel Castro, Guevara, and other revolutionaries on Cuba to their successful toppling of the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista two years later. Part Two is entitled Guerrilla and focuses on Guevara's attempt to bring revolution to Bolivia and his demise.
For his role, Del Toro spent seven years "obsessively researching" Guevara's life, which made him feel like he "earned his stripes" to interpret the character. Del Toro read Don Quixote, one of Guevara's favorites, and the first book published and given out free after the Cuban Revolution. Del Toro then personally met with people from different stages of Guevara's life, including Guevara's younger brother and childhood friends, traveling to Cuba where Del Toro met Guevara's widow, family, and "tons of people that loved this man". In an interview, Del Toro described Guevara as "a weird combination of an intellectual and an action figure, Gregory Peck and Steve McQueen, wrapped in one"
Che was screened as a single film at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Del Toro won the Best Actor Award, and the film received mostly positive reviews.
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