Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dave McDougall: History Lessons (Pt. 2) -- Notes on Steven Soderbergh's "Che"

History Lessons (Pt. 2): Notes on Steven Soderbergh's "Che"
by Dave McDougall


Part Two of Che begins with images of Bolivian miners. These are not portraits of revolutionaries, but of the need for revolution.

Domino theory, or, the threat of a good example: Again we return to maps. This time they are of South America as a whole, each country labelled as if in a future trajectory of revolution. Then, all countries together, turning shades of red. Again the maps historicize the situation, and walk us through strategies for takeover. Now the Cuba map from the overture of Part One clicks: these maps represent not just a geography, but a plan of attack. Now we know what we’re in for in Bolivia – and perhaps, elsewhere. The battle for Bolivia is thus a bigger wager than that of an exported national revolution – it is a test of the historical inevitability of communism in Latin America.

History, again: we watch a television showing Fidel reading Che's letter of resignation. Our view is slanted, our images doubly framed. History is viewed from afar, obscured, sideways. History makes icons out of people, symbols out of leaders, decorations out of actions. History is framed.

To Read the Rest of the Visual Essay

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