File spoon-archives/marxism2.archive/marxism2_1996/96-07-31.055, message 65

Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 10:38:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: "Evita" -- the movie

It's an interesting musical.

The device of Che as narrator is odd, indeed, and is not an addition of
the film's; it's in the Tim Rice original.  In fact, I wonder why it's
been kept for the film.  In some ways _Evita_ was a way to "explain"
Che--as finally, still trapped in the Argentine national romance, rather
than as a dangerous or clear-thinking revolutionary, let alone one who's
analysis applied to Latin America as a whole.  Che as montonero.  However,
the need or desire for such an explanation seems to have been much more
obvious in the mid-seventies, when the musical was written, than now. 

[Reciprocally, of course, portraying Evita through the eyes of Che, as 
montonero, makes Peronism much more a matter of bourgeois revolt and 
ignores its institutional basis in the unions and among the broad mass of 
the working class.]

Moreover, I wonder what the attraction of the musical is or was.  OK, it's
a pretty good story-line, but not uniquely so.  In Britain, in the mid to
late seventies (anyone know when exactly?  and David Essex was Che, but
who else was in it?) when it premiered, I suspect that the story of a
strong populist woman leader seemed quite apropos.  But now? 

I suspect that Madonna is playing it to depict some kind of "price of 
fame" narrative, which seems to be a favorite concern of aging pop and 
rock stars (and which is also the story of her stage shows (eg. the one 
with the clown--is that the girlie show?).  This is further a symptom of 
the confusion between political mobilization and cultural popularity that 
has led people like Sting and Bono to imagine themselves as politicians 
and Boris Yeltsin among so many others to mimic entertainment celebrity 
in a quite literal manner.

Take care


Jon Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University

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