March 20, 2006

Che As Bad Guy--A Note To Robert Redford

Che as a murderous, incompetent, and power-hungry revolutionary:
I have a movie idea for you. I’m in the process of writing a screenplay and wanted to run it by you with the hope that you would be interested in producing my project. I call it, The Motorcycle Diaries II and since you produced the original, I thought you, more than anyone else, deserved the first opportunity.

I realize, of course, the original was theatrically irrelevant – and only marginally profitable – but the MTV generation has learned only of the first part of Che Guevara’s brilliant life, and I think his subsequent years, historically speaking, were much more defining.

My story begins with the Che and the freedom fighters (or is it “fighters of freedom” - no matter) entering Havana. There, our hero, a communist of the rigid Stalinist camp, is standing proudly by the side of some guy with a beard. The guy with the beard is in charge, but “the Che”, ever the devout revolutionary, is very obviously his right hand man.

Pan to the prison La Cabana, of course, we’ll call it a fort. There, the Che is definitely in charge.

Here’s where the film’s big fun really begins. We pan to the Che: he is standing behind a prisoner; the prisoner is on his knees, his head bent forward; the Che is holding a .45 caliber handgun and has it pointed at the back of the prisoner’s head; he pulls the trigger; we hear the explosion of the round leaving the handgun and the prisoner lurches forward and falls, crumpled onto the ground. He has been executed. We show the Che meticulously moving down the line to the next prisoner and we watch him repeat the action with another execution.
Not quite the romantic, idealistic, humanitarian he was in The Motorcycle Diaries. Of course, Hitler was just a poor starving artist in Vienna at one time, Mao a peasant farmer, and Stalin the son of a former serf. Their stories are compelling as well, if only to contrast their later mass-murder and destruction of entire societies for their varying social-engineering projects--and Che's hagiographical treatment whitewashes his revolutionary activities.

Che-Mart has the appropriate "merchandise."


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