Cannes Agrees: Che Is ... Long

Commercial market hardly assured for Soderbergh's 4½-hour biopic
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2008 12:30 PM CDT
Cannes Agrees: Che Is ... Long
Puerto Rican actor Benicio Del Toro, left, and American director Steven Soderbergh pose at the "Che" photo call during the Cannes film festival, May 22, 2008.    (AP Photo/Carlo Allegri)

Steven Soderbergh’s much-anticipated Che Guevara biopic debuted last night at Cannes, and critics agree on at least two points: It was really, really long, and American audiences might never get to see it. A tough sell to distributors, the 4½-hour Che focuses almost entirely on military procedure, with mirror halves depicting first the successful Cuban revolution, then the failed Bolivian one.

Reviews were mixed. A.O. Scott, in the New York Times, was annoyed the film left out Guevara's darker moments, but found it provocative. Todd McCarthy, in Variety, is less kind, saying it offers “far too many aggravations for its paltry rewards.” Soderbergh contends the film couldn’t be shorter, and needn’t be dramatic. “I find it hilarious that people say movies are too conventional,” then criticize Che, he said. (More film stories.)

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