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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Che Guevara: Hasta La Victoria Siempre
Che Guevara: Hasta La Victoria Siempre
Kultur // Unrated // April 29, 2008
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Chris Neilson | posted May 29, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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Che Guevara: Hasta La Victoria Siempre is a by-the-numbers political biography of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the iconic 20th Century Latin American revolutionary. The 54-minute feature covers all the important political highlights of Che's life through archival film footage and a continuous narration by a single, uncredited and unseen, male English voice actor reading a biographical sketch that reads like a lengthy Encyclopedia Britannica entry.

The biographical overview is fairly complete, if cursory, and mostly devoid of overt political judgment. This short documentary feature spends approximately equal time on four periods in Che's short life: (1) the Argentine's upper-middle class youth, medical training, early Latin American travels, and radicalization; (2) his military exploits in Castro's Cuban revolution; (3) his role as minister and diplomat in post-revolutionary Cuba; and (4) his later military adverturism in Congo and Bolivia and his capture, execution, and memorial.

Based on the credits, it appears that this documentary was assembled by an Italian company, then relicensed to a British company which added the English narration, before being sold on to Kultur Films for distribution in the United States.

The musical score on this release seems to be culled from the music library of the Italian production house rather than created specifically for this documentary. Some of the music sounds approximately appropriate, while other bits such as the electronic industrial track are odd choices.

The Video:
Che Guevara: Hasta La Victoria Siempre is presented an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The archival footage is of varying qualities but is generally fine with the black and white footage that comprises three-quarters of the material holding up much better than the more modern but unrestored color footage used in the last quarter of the documentary.

The Audio:
The 2.0 audio track sounds a bit harsh at times and the volume of the score should be lower, but all in all, the audio is adequate. There are no optional subtitles on this release.

The Extras:
There are no extras on this release.

Final Thoughts:
Che Guevara: Hasta La Victoria Siempre is the kind of release that finds its way to public libraries, school classrooms, and to the various "history-lite" cable television channels. There's nothing inherently wrong with this kind of political biography. The facts, though highly circumscribed, are generally accurate and the newsreel footage is appealing, but there's nothing special here either.

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