An exhibition of films by Leandro Katz exploring the life, death and legacy of Che Guevara
Slought is pleased to announce "The Day You'll Love Me (El Día Que Me Quieras)," an exhibition of films about Che Guevara by artist and filmmaker Leandro Katz, on display from October 1-November 1, 2008. A lecture by artist Leandro Katz will take place on Friday, October 10, 2008 at 6:30pm followed by the opening reception (Download the visual presentation).
Leandro Katz's The Day You'll Love Me (El Día Que Me Quieras) (30 minutes, 1997) is a non-narrative film investigating death and the power of photography, a meditation on the last pictures taken of Ernesto Che Guevara, as he lay dead on a table surrounded by his captors in Bolivia in 1967. Not a political documentary in the traditional sense, the film alternates between evocation and straight reportage, centering on an interview with the Bolivian photographer Freddy Alborta. Suffused with a sense of mystery, El Día Que Me Quieras is about our assimilation of history.
Thirty years after Guevara's disappearance, El Día Que Me Quieras attempts to heal the open wound of his absence. In July, 1997, after more than a year of excavations, Guevara's remains were found by an international team of forensic archaeologists in Vallegrande, Bolivia, where he had been secretly buried. Three months later, Cuba finally buried the legendary Che Guevara in the town of Santa Clara where, in 1959, he had fought the decisive battle that made him a national hero. When Che Guevara was captured and killed, a wire photograph of his body was transmitted worldwide. It depicted the corpse in a room full of gleeful military men. The photograph, by Freddy Alborta, has been compared by John Berger to Mantegna's "Dead Christ" and to Rembrandt's "The Anatomy Lesson of Professor Tulp." The film centers on an interview with Freddy Alborta, his recollections from October 10, 1967, the dramatic photographs taken by him on that day, the intricate sets of international headlines found during our research, as well as the rare newsreel footage of this disturbing event.
Leandro Katz's Exhumación (38 minutes, Spanish, 2007), also featured in the exhibition, is an interview with the coroner Alejandro Incháurregui, a founding member of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF), which, together with the team of Cuban researchers and anthropologists, was in charge of finding the remains of Ernesto Che Guevara and his comrades in Bolivia in 1997. Forty years after the death of Ernesto Che Guevara in 1967, it was imperative to revisit through the filming of Exhumación the subject of the documentary El Dia Que Me Quieras, which explored the last photos taken by the Bolivian photographer Freddy Alborta of the lifeless body of Che Guevara's life in the laundry room in the Our Lord of Malta Hospital in Vallegrande, Bolivia.
In Exhumación, Alejandro Incháurregui recounts how the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team followed the information revealed by Mario Vargas Salinas, a retired general of the Bolivian Armed Forces who, despite military pressure, decided to talk to the journalist Jon Lee Anderson of The New York Times about the whereabouts of the underground tomb of Che Guevara. Incháurregui focuses his narration on the unsuccessful attempts of 1995, and the new search which finally located the remains of Che and his companions in 1997, in collaboration with his fellow Argentine Carlos Somigliana and Patricia Bernardi, and with the support of the preliminary team of forensic Cubans anthropologists under the leadership of Jorge Gonzalez Perez.
This documentary also explores the discovery of the remains of Tania, The Guerilla, as well as the concept of "photography as a trophy of war." On these issues, "Exhumación" reveals how the Bolivian military seized personal effects of victims of the guerrillas of Ñancahuzú, and then created an international market of fetishes and photos taken by the guerrillas themselves during the tragic campaign in Che Bolivia. Throughout his interview, struggling to maintain scientific objectivity, Alejandro Incháurregui, allows us to glimpse his passion and commitment to the events that marked his generation, and his professional dedication as a forensic anthropologist, concluding that "in one, we are exhuming the thousands of young people who were committed to the ideals of Che, and that today are 'los desaparecidos' in the history of the dirty war in Argentina."
Leandro Katz is an Argentine-born writer, visual artist and filmmaker known for his films and installations. He has made a total of 17 films. His film The Day You'll Love Me, won the Coral Prize at the Festival del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano de La Habana. His work has earned the Guggenheim, the Rockefeller, and N.E.A. Fellowships, and he has received support from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the Hubert Bals Fund, and the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Katz has been a member of the faculty at the School of Visual Arts and at Brown University. He has exhibited as an artist, and screened his films, at institutions including the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires MAMBA, the Centro Cultural de España CCEBA, Argentina, the Sexta Bienal de La Habana, Cuba, The Chicago Art Institute, and El Museo del Barrio, among others.