Thursday, January 05, 2006

¡Viva La Motocicleta!

Diarios de motocicleta, or The Motorcycle Diaries is one that I deliberately missed at the film fest. I like bikes (especially old ones), am relatively interested in South America in general, and would really like to know more about Cuba and the important people in that country's history.

I think I read a bad review, or it clashed with something else I wanted to see, so I didn't go. I kinda wish I had gone now, although I'm not really one of those that subscribes to the "a big screen is the only way to see movies" school of thought.

Anyway, this movie is absolutely great. I particularly like it for the scenery - it's a little bit like the makers were funded by their country's equivalent of the New Zealand Film Commission. You know what I mean - make sure your masterwork at least partly whores itself out as a tourist brochure and you'll get the money.

Having said that, I have no problem with seeing beautiful scenery, especially when it's actually quite integral to the film, as it is here. Plus, with old Bob Redford behind it, they may not have had very much trouble getting money!

The two main characters are brilliant - the young, earnest (pre-Che) Ernesto Guevara, and the older, more comical Alberto Granado, and the actors who played them are among the finest out there.

Gael García Bernal (who was also in Amores perros) in the words of someone I know: "I'm not a bender, but Gael Garcia Bernal is just beautiful, and a very good actor." I actually liked Rodrigo De la Serna better though. Possibly this was down to the characterisation, and the fact that this film was made knowing what would ultimately happen to Sr. Guevara.

I mean, the young Che was played, as I said before, very earnestly. I can see why this was done, and who knows, it may have really been how he was. Then again, he might have been a bit more of a larrikin, like most guys in their early 20s. Knowing who Ernesto Guevara became, it's difficult to imagine him being portrayed as anything other than serious and earnest.

Like I say, this could well have been exactly how he was, but to me, Alberto Granado seemed a slightly more realistic character. Not that Ernesto was unrealistic . . . o no, I'm tying myself up a bit here.

To (try and) sum up: this movie is a fascinating look at parts of South America in the 1950s, and at some of the formative years of a man that lots of people have T-shirts and posters of, but I bet many know very little about.

Watch this film, if for nothing more than pure aesthetics - who knows, you might get a little more out of it.

1 comment:

afraid said...

Yeah, a good one. One phenomenally great pair of shots is when they finally get up to the top of the hill, and the camera's on Ernesto's face and he's staring straight ahead , expressionless; then we cut to what he's looking at, and it's Macchu Picchu. Beautiful.