So said Steven Soderbergh, director of Che, at the press conference following the screening of his four-hour-plus epic on the revolutionary leader. "There isn't even a place for me in the society [Che] was trying to build."
Then why make the film?
I'm not asking that, mind you. Those asking that are those who are also concerned about Che's putative lack of "human drama," its refusal to drop many "emotional beats," and other entirely boring things. It's practically a given that once the film sees release, a lot of the usual suspects in the right-wing blogosphere will be wailing that this is "Hollywood's" "valentine" to Guevera, and no amount of objective evidence will change that. But what we're getting now, from the film-fest covering wing of the blogosphere, is grumbling over, as far as I can gather, the fact that the film is not more of a valentine to Guevera, and/or his ideas.
Having now seen the picture a second time, I'm even more impressed by its simultaneous detachment and engagement, its "you-are-there (but then again, you're not, really)" quality. As I wrote at Cannes for indieWire, the picture is "a meticulous examination of process," in which Soderbergh depicts Che as ever "alone in his own vision...without resorting to literal psychologizing." Silly me, I imagined that such an approach constituted a statement sufficient unto itself, but apparently not. In the war on cliche, apparently what's really wanted is...more cliche. Just so long as it's "Our" cliche, of course.