The beauty of the South American landscape and of Gael Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien
, Bad Education
) gives The Motorcycle Diaries
a charisma that is decidedly apolitical. But this portrait of the young Che Guevara (later to become a militant revolutionary) is half buddy-movie, half social commentary--and while that may seem an unholy hybrid, under the guidance of Brazillian director Walter Salles (Central Station
) the movie is quietly passionate. Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna, a lusty and engaging actor) set off from Buenos Aires, hoping to circumnavigate the continent on a leaky motorcycle. They end up travelling more by foot, hitchhiking, and raft, but their experience of the land and the people affects them profoundly. No movie could affect an audience the same way, but The Motorcycle Diaries
gives a soulful glimpse of an awakening social conscience, and that's worth experiencing. --Bret Fetzer
Based on the journals of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto 'Ché' Guevara, this coming-of-age road movie by Brazilian director Walter Salles follows the adventures of the young medical student Ché (Gael García Bernal) and his friend Alberto Granada (Rodrigo de la Serna) as they cross South America on motorbikes in the early 1950s, on their way to take up their medical residency at a leper colony in Peru. Along the way, the men discover much about life and about their own views on the world - and begin to realise just how different their individual destinies have become. The film premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.