The friendship between samurai Freddy Maymura and Ernesto Che Guevara in Bolivia will be the topic of a film titled, "Ernesto," as a reference not to the Argentine fighter, but the “samurai of the revolution,” whose nickname was Ernesto.
The Bolivian samurai was the son of a Japanese immigrant who took part in the Ñancahuazu guerrilla war after he met Che in Cuba.
The movie is now in post-production and will be released later this year, for the 50th anniversary of the death of both guerrillas. It was shot in Hiroshima and Tokyo, Japan, as well as in Havana and Naranjal in Cuba at the end of 2016.
Born in Trinidad, Bolivia in 1941, Maymura went to Cuba as part of the first group of Bolivian students to study medicine with a grant offered by the Cuban Revolution in 1962.
Sakamoto explained that he hoped the film will make more visible to the public the fascinating story of Maymura. He discovered the character while investigating Japanese immigration to Bolivia at the end of the 19th century.
The main role was given to Joe Odagiri, who started studying Spanish four months before shooting began, while Juan Valero was cast to play Che's character.
“The movie tells the genuine, visionary and revolutionary aspects of Freddy, which were very similar to that of Che's when he was young,” said Valero, a Cuban actor.
Before Sakamoto, Steven Soderbergh directed a movie focusing on Che's Bolivia's experience in 2008, called "Che."