Putting the “Che” in Cliché

“Chevolution,” a new documentary film by Trisha Ziff and Luis Lopez, was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival last week. As opposed to “Che,” the new Che Guevara film by Steven Soderbergh, Ziff’s film isn’t about Che the man but about Che the image. Chevolution documents the evolution of Alberto Korda Diaz‘ iconic photo of Guevara from a snapshot tacked to the photographer’s wall to the mass-produced figure gracing t-shirts, coffee mugs, and virtually every other ink-receptive item on the market.

As a consumer (and producer) of visual culture, something I find myself thinking regularly about are visual clichés- ideas and images that are overused to the point of having no meaning. Interestingly, the word “cliché” is French for printing plate- something that gets used repeatedly. When looking for an example of visual cliché, it’s hard to imagine one better than the famous image of Che Guevara. It’s been appropriated by the capitalist society as a fashion-friendly symbol of rebellion. In a time when few Americans can point to Cuba on a map, it is ironic that a Cuban revolutionary hero would be so pervasive.

This film looks to be an worthwhile exploration of a visual phenomenon- I’m excited to see it. Release date info doesn’t seem to be available but you can read more about the film at The Gothamist.

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Categories: Critical Discourse

3 Responses to “Putting the “Che” in Cliché”

  1. Natalie Diaz says:

    I’m Alberto Korda’s granddaughter and I was wondering.. do you know anywhere I can get hold of that film? I checked out the link to the film, but it gave me very little information…

    an answer would be much appreciated. 🙂

    Natalie Diaz

  2. jasonurban says:

    Hi Natalie, I’m really not sure about a release date. It was shown this month at the 12th Int’l Latino Film Festival…

    And here’s a link to the trailer…

    Beyond that I haven’t been able to find out anything. Which is too bad because it looks like a fascinating film. I’d love to see it myself.

    Thanks. Jason

  3. Vishnu Hari says:

    I have a copy of the film with spanish audio track, but without any subtitles. If you have the english subtitle, can you please share it with me…