Che part 1, directed by Steven Soderbergh, gives a relatively accurate depiction of the persona of Che Guevara. Part 1 depicts Che’s extensive involvement in the Cuban revolution. The film goes back and forth from the Cuban revolution and Che’s trip to New York to speak at the United Nations. The film demonstrates Che’s intense commitment to bringing socialist revolution to Latin American nations as well as showing the guerilla tactics in which he employed and helped to develop into a systematic system of revolutionary war. Che part 1 shows a very different Che than the one seen in the “Motorcycle Diaries,” in which Che is depicted as a contemplative youth. Though in Che part 1 he still retains his commitment to education (he requires that all of the men in his army learn to read and write, believing that education was an important prerequisite for a revolutionary) he is by far a more ambitious fighter and quite a motivational leader.
Che part 1 demonstrates well the guerilla tactics, which the Cuban revolutionaries employed throughout the film. Guevara believed that this method of warfare would be a “means to and end” and that the end would be the “seizure of political power.” (Guerrilla Warfare: A method) Che articulated the guerilla style of war fare in his writings. He stated that, “a guerilla army is not born spontaneously, rather it must be armed from the enemies arsenal, and this requires a long and difficult struggle in which the people’s forces and their leaders will be exposed to attack by superior forces…” (Guerilla Warfare: A Method) This aspect of the guerilla warfare is clearly seen in the film. Castro and Che are continually accepting new recruits from the population that resides in rural areas as popular support for the revolution, especially in these areas, increases. The movie also accurately depicts how the revolutionaries were armed. They took their weapons from Baptista’s army. Most of the weapons used by the revolutionaries appear to American made, notably the M1 rifles and carbines, that were undoubtedly supplied by the U.S. to Baptista. One peasant is also told that he must steal his own weapon from the enemy in battle. The film also demonstrates the hit and run tactics that characterized guerilla warfare, notably the attack on the army barracks, when the smaller revolutionary force made a fast attack at night. As popular support for the revolution increased, larger engagements were more prevalent, seen in one of the later scenes in the film where the revolutionaries attack and occupy a relatively large city.
Che part 1 also demonstrates much of Che’s ideology and his mistrust of capitalist nations, which he often refers to as “imperialist.” This ideology is quite apparent in his address to the U.N. the film as well as in his “Message to the Tricontinental” in which he states (referring to U.S. involvement in Vietnam) that, “U.S. imperialism is guilty of aggression — its crimes are enormous and cover the whole world. We already know all that, gentlemen! (“Message to the Tricontinental”) He believes that in order to free smaller underdeveloped nations of capitalist influence, which he clearly deemed to be detrimental, popular support for a revolution, characterized by guerrilla warfare, was the best method to ensure social change.