Hasta la Victoria Siempre

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 18, 2015

We start with peasant imagery, with peasants straddled between material want and fundamental nobility. Che (actually!—he was a person, not a t-shirt) speaks, and then a celebratory montage of photographs follows. To Bolivia now, where images affirm that the authorities are working for the men with the money. Now we go to the guerillas. A speech commences on the soundtrack, proceeding under images of power and poverty, and graphics about illiteracy in Latin America. Cut to Che, continuing the speech, calmly blaming the imperialists (he wasn’t wrong, of course), calmly calling for world-wide revolution. It’s all disconcerting—I am not exactly a Latin American peón—and kind of invigorating!

On we go, less calmly. Now it’s the bestiality of the imperialists! Che, and Alvarez with him, calls the Americans and the French Hitleristas, noting the similarity, the out-and-out congruence of their expansionist policies. Not the same/same. Fair. Not. Fair. The speech ends, and we’re back to the photo montage, back to the faces, the forces, the contextualizing/orienting (manipulating) headlines. Alvarez’s use of music is very dramatic, very effective. The film closes with “This is dated 1967.” Check that date! Hot off the presses, amazingly urgent, and present, even at this late date. The message is simple, clear, amazing: this is the revolution, marching on. (Didn’t quite turn out that way, did it?)

This is also, notwithstanding the actual footage of the guy actually talking, something of a filmed t-shirt.