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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Diarios de Motocicleta

Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries), made by the great Brazilian director Walter Salles in 2004, with Robert Redford as executive producer. A movie following closely the travel notes of a young Argentinean who made in 1952, together with a friend, a long journey across Latin America. The intention was to make it on a motorbike, only old Poderosa was definitely torn out and passed away quickly. The journey went on anyway, as anyone can expect.

After watching the movie I found the book, The Motorcycle Diaries, and I read it at one shot. It’s full of freshness, of that sympathetic craziness that looks true only in your early twenties; it’s full of empathy for every new situation and new encounter. Nothing fake, nothing pompous. The young author of the diary would become after some years well known in the world at large; by that time he was just a young dreamy guy. His name was Ernesto Guevara.

In the leading role a great Mexican actor, Gael Garcia Bernal, very well seconded, in some kind of counterpoint, by Rodrigo De La Serna (who, by the way, is a second cousin of Guevara).

Das Kapital meets Easy Rider, wrote Times about Diarios de Motocicleta. I would rather disagree with this judgment. We all know that the young sympathetic guy from the movie will become Che one day, only he doesn’t know it: the tone is warm and slightly humorous. The future of the personage is only a very discreet allusion in the movie; it is true that the situations encountered on the journey rise questions and suggest roads to follow, and the scene at Machu Pichhu transmits in a forceful way the emotion of the hero, his sudden awareness of what the South American identity means; but the movie succeeds in avoiding to be a political lecture. It is the merit here of the director, Walter Salles; it is also the merit of Gael Garcia Bernal, who is maybe one of the most intelligent actors of his generation.

To understand the spirit of Diarios de Motocicleta I think we should compare it with another movie of Salles, Central do Brasil; a journey through a universe that is, like the heroes of the movie, in the making, open to any outcome, with a destiny not yet crystallized. And the empathy between the heroes and the universe they are traversing is total; both universe and heroes are fully open to each other.

A commentator found, I think, the most perfect tag for this movie:

Nuestra inquietud, nuestro espíritu soñador y el incansable amor por la ruta (Paler23)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 1/13
(video by julianajdg)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 2/13
(video by julianajdg)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 3/13
(video by julianajdg)
jejejeje la cagada (granchapa24)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 4/13
(video by julianajdg)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 5/13
(video by julianajdg)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 6/13
(video by julianajdg)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 7/13
(video by julianajdg)
Me Encanto la manera en que el Muchachito dice Este viene a ser el Muro inca y el Otro el Muro de los Incapaces (que eran los Espanoles).. una broma.. que encierra gran verdad (Rittoshi)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 8/13
(video by julianajdg)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 9/13
(video by julianajdg)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 10/13
(video by julianajdg)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 11/13
(video by julianajdg)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 12/13
(video by julianajdg)
Bom pra caralho ... (elvinoman)

Diarios de Motocicleta: Part 13/13
(video by julianajdg)
Que linda Musica al final del film.. Tan Sudamericana y tan Latina a la vez (Rittoshi)


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  • Here is the comment that I wrote for IMDB about the film when I saw it back in 2007:

    Walter Salles 'Diarios de motocicleta' - 'The Motorcycle Diaries' co-produced by Robert Redford is a good film. Whoever is interested in the history of the 12000 km journey of two young Argentinians in the 50s, with stunning visuals and good acting by Gael Garcia Bernal Rodrigo de la Serna can enjoy it. I did enjoy it, but to do so I had to forget for a moment that the film is about Che Guevara.

    It is not clear to me whether the lack of reference to the political and revolutionary career of Che is intentional or not. The film tries to be some kind of a ritual of coming of the two young Argentinians into knowing real life and social injustice of the Latin Americas of the period. This is possible, but from a psychological point of view I could not find a real justification in the movie of the reasons of Che's evolution to revolutionary communism. The same social injustice could be fought by many other means, Cuevara could have become a missionary, or participate in international relief activities. He had a medical background, he could have become a 'medecin sans frontieres'. The reasons to chose violent fight are never shown here, and actually according to biography I read he entered the Communist movement only one year after this journey, while witnessing a coup in Guatemala.

    We can ask ourselves if making an apparently apolitical film about a young, handsome and romantic man named Che Guevara is not a political expression after all. after all.

    By Blogger Dan Romascanu, at 9:47 AM  

  • Dan, think at other movie of Salles, Central Station. Actually it is the same frame: a journey made by two people 'in the making' through a universe in the making. Travelers and universe are open to any outcome. The young Ernesto can become a Medecin sans Frontieres guy, or a revolutionary, or just a physician in some place, nothing is yet crystalized. What interests Salles is the interaction between universe and personage: a reciprocal sympathy and awe.

    By Blogger Pierre Radulescu, at 11:28 AM  

  • Pierre, I do not see 'Central Station' yet.

    I understand your reading of the 'Diarios' but I cannot consider the fact that the personage that relates to the Universe happens to become later a participant in repression and exporter of totalitarianism just a coincidence. Part of the relation we have as viewers with this film is the fact that we know that the character became later Che. Making an apparently apolitical film about the young Che may not be an apolitical saying. That was my point. point.

    By Blogger Dan Romascanu, at 1:51 PM  

  • Walter Salles is a great film director and I would avoid giving him marks on his political convictions. Firstly, I don't know his convictions, and I cannot make judgments based on my presumptions. Is Salles sympathizing Guevara? Maybe yes, maybe not; I don't know and it does not seem fair to me to give him political marks.

    That is my opinion. You can have other opinions and your comments will be always welcome on my blog. I think I made myself sufficiently understood.

    By Blogger Pierre Radulescu, at 2:58 PM  

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