Ernesto Che Guevara: The Bolivian Diaries Richard Dindo

Ernesto Che Guevara: The Bolivian Diaries Richard Dindo
As the title suggests, this documentary on Che Guevara covers only that of the Marxist revolutionary's struggles and subsequent downfall in Bolivia, prefacing it with a brief voiceover about his trips to Congo-Kinshasa and the Soviet Union following the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista in Cuba. A voiceover reads segments of Guevara's diary leading up to his execution in October 1967, using stock footage, photographs and modern interviews with Bolivian peasants who had met the countercultural symbol to provide context. In addition to revealing battle strategies and struggles, along with the quotidian, and Che's struggle with asthma, the diary sheds some insight on a man certain of his ideological battle but uncertain of his place contextually, adding an existential element to his plight. This is secondary to discussions of American influence and government brainwashing but exists nonetheless, giving a deeper framework to a doomed journey. What is perhaps most interesting is the juxtaposition of Che's determination to fight for the poor with their fear of him, and modern interviews that either idealize him or simply treat him as historical anecdote. The documentary implies that neo-colonialism and government propaganda caused Bolivians to fear their seeming saviour, painting Guevara as a martyr and "the people" victims of blanket imperialism. What the documentary avoids are questions of political relevance and the historical application of Socialism in a global context. Deliberately slow, The Bolivian Diaries takes time to get into but eventually develops a lyrical sensibility, mixing careful voiceovers with apropos visuals and footage to heighten the engagement and potential emotional response. The perspective is distinctive but not entirely preachy, which is impressive given that a large portion of the film is in first-person. Unsurprisingly, no supplements are included with the DVD, nor are they really needed. (Alive Mind)