The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
  • Time: 128 min
  • Genre: Adventure | Biography | Drama
  • Director: Walter Salles
  • Cast: Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna, Susana Lanteri


The Motorcycle Diaries is an adaptation of a journal written by Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna when he was 23 years old. He and his friend, Alberto Granado are typical college students who, seeking fun and adventure before graduation, decide to travel across Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela in order to do their medical residency at a leper colony. Beginning as a buddy/road movie in which Ernesto and Alberto are looking for chicks, fun and adventure before they must grow up and have a more serious life. As is said in the film itself, it’s about “two lives running parallel for a while.” The two best friends start off with the same goals and aspirations, but by the time the film is over, it’s clear what each man’s destiny has become.

One comment

  • 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.

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