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Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)

Title: Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)
Released: 2004

The Motorcycle Diaries is a film adapted from Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s autobiographical travel story by the same name. Guevara, played by Gael García Bernal, at 23 years old is finishing up with his medical degree at the University of Buenos Aires and decides that he needs to see the world (is this the original story of our time?). He and his best friend Alberto Granado, played by Rodrigo de la Serna, plan a trip by motorcycle through South America. The story is one of Ernesto and Alberto’s deepening friendship, adventures, and humorous mishaps, including one of my favorite scenes when they arrive in a small town and impersonate well-know doctors so that they can get their bike fixed and are later chased out of town for flirting with the mechanic’s wife.

Several experiences open up the characters to see the world differently, and the experiences begin to transform Guevara from a middle-class student to someone who wants to change the world. I’ve heard criticism (from my husband), that the movie romanticizes Guevara and pardons his later political actions. While I agree that the movie is somewhat of a glorification, I appreciate the view of Che as a young man (well, who doesn’t appreciate good-looking Gael García Bernal) and seeing his original inspiration to make a difference when he sees poverty and injustice in the world.

The music, done by Jean-Claude Brisson, and the cinematography, with beautiful countryside from Patagonia to Machu Picchu, makes the film a pleasure to watch. Nearly everyone I’ve talked to enjoyed the film—it’s funny, thought-provoking, well-written and acted—a hit for most audiences.