Pero escucha, Che….
It takes a big person to admit they’re wrong and since I am getting to be a big person (unfortunately, that is “big” as in rotund – by the end of the year I may attain what I once joked about – being 5′ by 5’… but I digress….) As I was saying when I rudely interrupted myself, I was half way through writing a scathing rant against “Che, The Argentine” and Benicio Del Toro and director, Soderbergh because they were not having Che speak with a true Argentine accent. I had heard a little audio clip from the movie and I was incensed, nay, outraged, by what I heard… and then I did a bit of research and came across this snippet from an interview with the New York Post (yes I know its the Post but I think I can trust them on this, …. can’t I?) (Click on the quote to go to Sandra Guzman’s article)
Native Spanish speakers will especially get to experience the nuance of Del Toro’s gift. In Part 1, Del Toro slowly transforms his character’s Argentinian-tinged Spanish to a rhythmic rat-a-tat-tat of colloquial Cuban.
“Che had a very peculiar accent; it wasn’t completely Argentinian. By the time the movie starts, he had already been in Central America for some time. And then when he went to Cuba, he made a conscious effort to get rid of the accent so that he could communicate with the peasantry.”
“I don’t think people understand the complexity, the variety of Spanish accents that exist,” explains Bickford. According to the British-born producer, it wasn’t just Del Toro who worked on accents. All the actors, who hailed from gaggle of Latin American countries, had dialect coaches to work with them in the hotel and on the set.
Alright then, perhaps I might be persuaded to see the movie. I’m very picky about my accents. I myself have an Argentine accent and when they make the movie of my life (oh and they will), I do not want Rosie Perez playing me (unless she learns to reproduce my lovely Argentine lilt). Actually, Liz Torres is probably better suited physically to playing me at this point. I’ve always liked Ms. Torres as an actress – she has great energy, Miss Patty anyone?… Sorry… once more, I digress….
I’m impressed by the amount of thinking that was done about the proper use of accents in this film. The rationale behind the evolving of Che’s accent sounds correct to me. An Argentine accent, especially an upper class Argentine accent, when experienced by a Cuban peasant would probably elicit the same type of reaction as an upper class British accent on an Alabama farm worker. “I say, what ho, shall we over throw Batista, say what?” If you’re going to lead a revolution, you must do it in the language (or accent) of the people you are leading.
To me “Motorcycle Diaries” captures the spirit of Che, or what I would like to think Che was. Once the doctor picked up a gun, he became a flawed man and no longer a true hero. But all that said, I will reserve judgment until I see the film.