Che – Soderbergh

Each one of the two parts of the movie Che (dir. Steven Soderbergh 2009) starts with an animated map (at least in the North American version of the film): An animated map of the different Cuban provinces in Part I and an animated map of the different countries of South America in Part II. Both maps are somehow « mysterious. »

Chacune des deux parties du film Che (dir. Steven Soderbergh 2009) commence par une carte animée ( en tous cas en ce qui concerne la version nord américaine du film) : une carte animée des différentes provinces cubaines dans la première partie, et une carte animée des pays d’Amérique du Sud dans la deuxième partie. Ces deux cartes sont quelque peu mystérieuses.

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These maps are mysterious because they don’t seem to appear in the European version of the film (although this would need to be confirmed). Also at first glance they don’t seem to really fit in the context of the movie: They are very clear and didactic, while the action of the movie – based on the journal of Che Guevara – is not always easy to follow.

Part II opens with a map of Bolivia (where the action takes place) on which three place names appear successively: First Catavi – a mining center where the revolt of the miners ended up in a massacre instrumentalized by the government – then La Paz – the capital of the country – and finally Nancahuazu – where the movie starts with the arrival of Che Guevara. Then the entire map of South America appears and each country is highlighted in a very simplistic but quite esthetical way.

The function of these maps is definitely to contextualize the action of the movie (the use of maps to introduce movies is not uncommon in cinema as illustrated in Casablanca or more recently in Bienvenue chez les ch’tis). They give a sense of place to the audience. Quickly we know where we are and we know that these places exist. In Che these maps reinforce the biographical dimension of the movie by rooting it to real places. They also suggest the much bigger plan of Che Guevarra. Beyond Catavi and Nancahuazu the entire South America is at stake in this revolutionary project. Finally, the use of red and the black for the map combined with an eerie music suggests what is going to happen: There will be blood has the Cohen Brothers could have said.


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  • Work Title/Titre de l’œuvre : Che (Part I and II)
  • Author/Auteur : Soderbergh
  • Year/Année : 2009
  • Field/Domaine : Cinema
  • Type : Biography / Biographie
  • Edition/Production :Wild Bunch,Telecinco, Laura Bickford Productions,…
  • Language/Langue : Spanish
  • Geographical location/localisation géographique :#Cuba #Bolivia
  • Remarks/Notes: The movie takes place in other locations in South America
    • Machinery/Dispositif : Map / Carte
    • Location in work/localisation dans l’œuvre : Introduction (very first scene) / Introduction (Toute première scène)
    • Geographical location/localisation géographique :
    • Remarks/Notes :

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