While everyone’s out on a weekend watching the overly-hyped “Star Wars Finale”, I’m at sickbay tending my inflamed tonsils (blame it for drinking ice-cold water after a long jog). Wishing I was on a beach in Batangas where I was invited, but I had to stay at home and rest. To make things more productive, or so it seems, it was a chance for me to finally watch “Motorcycle Diaries” DVD which have been collecting dust in my stack of DVDs for weeks now since I bought it.
I have always been curious on the life of the famous Ernesto “Che” Guevarra. He’s quite a popular icon especially in the fashion design since a lot of “young” ones have them printed on their T-shirts and other items like mugs and key-chains. If Che were still alive at this time he would have been very rich from all the royalties of his merchandise. But do these people really know him? His ideals, his vision and why did he spark the Latin America Revolution? A friend of mine even overheard some “Jologs” pertaining to him as “Bob Marley.” And why his image is associated with marijuana “weeds”, I have no idea. But I think “Che” would have been disappointed that his vision was summed by these day’s youngsters to a narrow definition of “guerilla” and “rebellion”.
The “Motorcycle Diaries” is a beautiful movie in it’s own right. If you are interested to hear my ramblings cum personal review of the movie. Read on.
“This is not about heroic tales. It’s about two lives running parallel for a while.”
Based on the true story of Ernesto “Che/Fuser” Guevarra, “Motorcycle Diaries” is the story of “Che” played by Mexican actor Gael GarcBernal, and Alberto Granado, played by Argentinian actor Rodrigo de la Serna, as they embark on an adventurous road trip crossing borders of Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. Starting with the “zest” for travel with a run-down motorcycle to aid them, never do they realize that their journey of 13,000 km in Latin America would change them and spark their revolutionary spirit.
Directed by Brasilian, Walter Salles and produced by American, Robert Redford, shot on-location in different countries, this movie truly has that International touch. Salle has a great vision for this movie. I enjoyed the cinematography so much and the detail on every frame of the movie is just perfect for me. The angles, the emotional compositions and the colors.
Gael and Rodrigo have natural rapport in this movie. Them being friends was natural and alfredo being the comic/ funny guy was convincing.
Soundtrack is ok, it doesn’t intrude but remains in the backdrop. Sometimes i hardly notice it but it’s there when needed.
“What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land” ~ Ernesto “Che” Guevara
The sequence of the story works well. From the start we know that “Che/Fuser” is an asthmatic and is finishing Medical School, his father is against this trip planned by his good friend Alberto who is a Biochemist. It took 10 years for Alberto to plan this trip. And one of their trip is to visit the leper colony in the Peruvian Amazon. In the end Fuser’s father give and told him that if he was younger, he would hop in to the Motorcycle with him.
On what started as a “Travel just to travel”, and hopefully get laid with different women in each border. Their vision seems to change as they go farther and farther. There are lots of moments which may have attributed to Fuser’s change of vision:
The mining communist couple: Asked wether why they travel, Che hesitantly could only answer that they “travel only to travel”, he seems at lost for a while there after hearing that the couple travel to find work. They are hungry, thirsty and cold. They wait there for the night, for tomorrow they might have a chance to work at the mines. Which will probably pay less than they deserve. Later we found out that Fuser gave them his $15 that his sweetheart Chichina gave and Alberto continuosly nagging to use it for some time during their travel.
The Cuscu Farmer: A farmer narrated how he painstakingly soiled a land, let it flourish then the owner just fired him from his work and didn’t give him enough pay. He doesn’t have choice but to look for another land to toil.
The Inca archaeological site: (I just love this mountain scene. I wish to see this once in my lifetime). Fuser reflected how the Spaniards could destroy such a great civilization of the Inca’s to replace what they build now. I liked what their boy guide told them that “One part of the wall were built by the Inca’s, an the other part were built by the in-capable, spaniards”
The Peruvian Amazon Leper Colony: Fuser and Alberto spent considerable time here being a volunteer. Fuser saw the separtion of the healthy from the sick by a river. The mother superior also has this rule of wearing gloves when in the island of the Leper colony, which Fuser think wasn’t necessary since they won’t be infected or contaminated anyway. And another rule, that people would never be given food if they didn’t attend mass. Mother superior’s reason? “Not only they nourish the body but also the soul.” Thus they were refused food. Fortunately their patients gave them food. Fuser also showed great compassion to the sick, he even desired to spend his birthday on the Leper Island and swam the river seperating it.
As I said earlier this is a beautiful movie. If you are a traveller, this is a Must-See. The movie gives us a view of the young Guevarra before his revolutionary icon. It is about friendship. Like it’s tagline “This is not about heroic tales. It’s about two lives running parallel for a while.” Alberto and Fuser are good friends, but when both person have changed they would now have different goals as you will see in the end of the movie. I think a lot of people can relate to that. It is about love. It is about the society it’s injustices, opression and discrimination. And it is about travel and how the world can change you and in return, change the world.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.