Diarios De Motocicleta [The Motorcycle Diaries] (2004)

(In theaters, January 2005) Funny, dramatic, historically important and occasionally moving, this “Young Che Guevarra” adventure is the sort of thing that would be worth watching even if the protagonist wasn’t a man who would become a generational icon. You don’t have to be a pamphlet-carrying Marxist to enjoy this series of events as Guevarra and his best friend Alberto Granado try to cycle their way through South America. Chances are that you’ll laugh as they behave like ordinary horny young men, looking for silly adventures with pretty girls and ending up forging their philosophy for the rest of their lives. The script is a bit forceful, especially with you compare it with Guevarra’s own written diary of the events. Events are shaped and dramatized to be a lot more meaningful that they appeared to Guevarra at the time but, hey, this is a movie. On the flip side, this infusion of meaning also gives a far more accessible structure to Guevarra’s trip. I was sorry to see some his adventures stay on the page, but generally pleased by the way some things were best explained in a visual fashion. (And then I saw the credits, which state that it’s based on Alberto Granado’s book about the same trip; some material may be from this other source) As a gateway into life as it was known in South America (and still probably is, for all I know), it’s exceptional.

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