The Blog

Hollywood Hearts Che!

2:01 PM, May 27, 2008 • By KEVIN KUSINITZ
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

While Americans remembered the servicemen and women who gave their lives for their country, a couple of people who wear make-up and costumes for a living marked Memorial Day weekend a little differently.

Benicio del Toro won the best actor prize at Cannes as the star of Steven Soderbergh's four-and-a-half hour biopic Che. For those who know Che Guevara only as a t-shirt icon, perhaps this would be a good time to for a Cliff Notes' version of Hollywood's favorite revolutionary. Via Slate:

Che was a totalitarian. He achieved nothing but disaster. Many of the early leaders of the Cuban Revolution favored a democratic or democratic-socialist direction for the new Cuba. But Che was a mainstay of the hardline pro-Soviet faction, and his faction won. Che presided over the Cuban Revolution's first firing squads. He founded Cuba's "labor camp" system-the system that was eventually employed to incarcerate gays, dissidents, and AIDS victims. To get himself killed, and to get a lot of other people killed, was central to Che's imagination.

That's quite a resume to live up to, so Del Toro's acceptance speech was appropriately modest: "I'd like to dedicate this to the man himself, Che Guevara." (Fun fact: Benicio del Toro translates as Benny the Bull. Make your own joke.)

Meanwhile, in America, Jessica Lange gave the commencement speech at Sarah Lawrence College. Instead of encouraging the students to get a good job and make money, Ms. Lange took another tack:

"We are living in an America that, in the last seven and a half years, has waged an unnecessary war, established prison camps, condoned torture, employed corporate armies, eliminated the right of habeas corpus, practiced extraordinary rendition, and believe me, this is only a partial list," said Lange, who was most recently seen in 1982's Tootsie

Any guesses as to whether this scenario would bother her under a President Che?