A documentary on the iconography of Che Guevara. 3.3 out of 5 based on 9 reviews


Certificate None
Genre Documentary
Director Trisha Ziff Luis Lopez
Cast Antonio Banderas, Gael Garcia Bernal Gerry Adams
Release Date September 2009
Running Time 86 mins

A documentary on the iconography of Che Guevara.


The Observer

Philip French

It's a fascinating study of what one of the contributors calls "the Mona Lisa of photography", and how it entered the public domain to be exploited the world over. The film throws a revealing light on communism and capitalism, idealism and opportunism, art and commerce, and how they have interacted and operated on the same materials during the past half century.


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Total Film

Tom Dawson

This illuminating doc lucidly lays out the history, legacy and legal wrangles surrounding Alberto Korda’s iconic portrait of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. The range of talking heads is wide – from Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams to Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello – and the politics even-handed.


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Channel 4 Film

Anton Bitel

Engaging... Like the ubiquitous image that it celebrates, this documentary says many things about history, culture and ideology, without ever seeming anything less than clear and compelling.


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Empire Magazine

David Parkinson

This slick chronicle of the commodification of Che’s gaze is a triumph of graphic research and editorial dexterity. But it’s also a provocative analysis of the extent to which artists retain ownership over their creations after they have had new — and often contradictory — meanings bestowed upon them.


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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

Ziff and Lopez scan the iconographic impact zone and then explore the sociocultural fallout. The Che effect on commercial trinketry; the Korda family’s attempt to retrieve the image’s copyright; the disaffected Cubans’ disgust at the glamorisation of a rebellion that hardened into Marxist tyranny. It is right that the magical appeal of the face itself is never quite explained, even if a voice or two might have been drafted in – Umberto Eco? Noam Chomsky? – to try.


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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

Film-makers Trisha Ziff and Luis Lopez ask how and why the wisdom of the crowd decided that this image should not merely be a badge of youth radicalism, but an icon of purity. Plenty of kids with Che on their T-shirt have no idea who he was, and Che himself was arguably an elusive figure: an Argentinian who became a Cuban hero, yet finally renounced his new Cuban citizenship and died a murky death in the Bolivian jungle. It is precisely this vagueness which is the key to the image's potency... There is also the simple fact that Che is probably the best-looking non-actor in all history.


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The Independent

Robert Hanks

[An] intelligent documentary


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Time Out

Dave Calhoun

...zippy enough, if a little meandering... The film is uninterested in re-examining Che’s legacy (it assumes he’s a hero, bar a couple of dissenting voices) but offers a more rounded history of the image with the help of Korda’s daughter, who is still trying to exert some control over her father’s most reproduced work.


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Ronnie Scheib

...somehow this latest incarnation appears less exploratory than people-pleasing. The pic comes off as too scattershot to do anything but skim the questions it raises about the nature of the image as spiritual beacon and corporate logo.


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