The man Behind the T-Shirt

by publicationarchive

The Motorcycle Diaries explores the makings of a revolutionary By Laura Limon, Staff Writer What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Ernesto Che Guevara? Most people think of Communism, Cuba and Fidel Castro, while others just picture black T-shirts with Che’s face on them. Both of these have served as inspiration for the new film The Motorcycle Diaries. Set in 1952, The Motorcycle Diaries tells the story of 23-year-old Che (Gael Garcia Bernal) and his friend, 29-year-old Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna) as they follow their free spirits on a tour of Latin America. Riding a 1939 junk yard motorcycle wishfully named “La Poderosa” (The Mighty One), these two comrades make their way from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Caracas, Venezuela. Their path is treacherous since they plan to cross the Andes through the Chilean coast, cross the Atacama Desert and enter the Peruvian Amazon. However, their ambition and clever antics get them not only through a tough road, but also score them some free meals and housing along the way. As they arrive at every new town and encounter different cultures (some contemporary, some ancient), their rite of passage to enlightenment begins. With humorous mishaps, beautiful scenery and fantastic acting, The Motorcycle Diaries is both inspirational and entertaining. Gael Garcia Bernal lights up the screen with a single pensive look. Previously praised for his acting in the critically acclaimed films Amores Perros and Y Tu Mama Tambien, Garcia Bernal goes above and beyond great acting in this film. He portrays Guevara as a light begins to dawn on him, though he still doesn’t have any idea how bright that light will one day become. Rodrigo de la Serna, who coincidentally, is also Che’s second cousin in real life, gathers plenty of laughs and even some tears as the chubby, quirky and loyal best friend Alberto. Since this movie is based on Guevara’s and Granado’s real journals, you can count on the anecdotes being accurate. More than just honest, The Motorcycle Diaries is a window into a past that is strikingly similar to our hazy present. The seeds of revolution are planted in Guevara’s heart as he questions supposed progress that stampedes over beautiful cultures. Guevara and Granado encountered people from indigenous societies trapped in poverty and injustice. And, as the movie portrays, they are forced to trade their ancient traditions for one that is extremely familiar to us now: Capitalism. The film literally puts a human face behind Guevara’s struggles. With beautifully woven scenes you wish would last forever, the film embodies the true revolutionary spirit in an adventurous and faithful way. To watch this film, you don’t need to know a single thing about Ernesto “Che” Guevara. For example, you don’t need to know how he lived an upper-middle class lifestyle until he became overwhelmed with revolutionary desire and decided to change the world; or how he was executed in Bolivia with the help of United States’ CIA after the overthrow of Cuba’s corrupt government. All you need is an adventurous spirit and, well, $10 to get into the theater. The Motorcycle Diaries is in theaters now.