Screened as part of NZIFF 2004
No film at Sundance earlier this year, or at Cannes in May, came closer to uniting critics and audiences than this road movie from Walter Salles, director of Central Station. Starring Gael García Bernal as the young Che Guevara, it’s a love letter to Latin America – and to the wakening vocations of two privileged young men embracing, for the first time, the world outside their comfort zones. Charting the journey of Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado from Buenos Aires through Chile, Peru and finally to Venezuela, the film is as switched on as its protagonists by the sights and sounds of the journey.
“The Motorcycle Diaries is a beautifully wrought account of the dawning of the social conscience of one of the 20th century’s most romanticized revolutionaries. In gradual increments, Brazilian director Walter Salles’ best film to date reveals how an eight-month trip through South America in 1952 opened the eyes of a 23-year-old upper-middle-class Argentinian medical student named Ernesto Guevara, who a few years later emerged as the charismatic Che… This intelligently made picture is artful but not arty, political without being didactic.” — Todd McCarthy, Variety
“The movie’s initially odd preference for lush scenery and random incident over history and ideas allows for the startling emergence of a rather lovely message: revolution can sprout from anywhere and anyone at any time; in fact, it’s in our nature.” — Rob Nelson, City Pages