Diarios de motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)

Yeah, maybe it looks pretentious that I did the title that way, but you know what? I have a Spanish Linguistics final tomorrow, so I can speak as much Spanish as I want right now. Anyway, I watched an interview with the delicious Gael Garcia Bernal—LET’S ALL PAUSE AND ADMIRE HIM, SHALL WE?



back to our previously scheduled post. He was saying that the movie could not and should not have been filmed in English, which it wasn’t, thanks be to Jesucristo. Can you even picture Che Guevara trying to seduce his one-time girlfriend in our horribly brusque language? Or comforting people with leprosy in English? Or saying “Fuck you, motherfucker!” to his traveling companion, Alberto, in English? No lo puedo creer.

So this movie got a lot of hype. A lot. Of hype. And it took me this long to see it. I actually just finished watching it, and I should probably be (a) studying for that Spanish final (but hey! isn’t watching a Spanish-language movie studying? did i not just hear 4 dialects of Spanish in one film? ¡Por supuesto!) or (b) writing that actual film review to actually be published in an actual newspaper. Oh well. This one’s fresh in my mind, at least until “The Office” comes on. It was a good movie. I mean, duh. The sky is blue. But I was expecting it to be all … you know, epic. And maybe it was, but I was expecting that, so it wasn’t quite. I don’t know. I certainly got chills when the camera panned out to show an aerial view of Valparaíso, Chile, where I think some of my friends (Gus, Brit, Karly) have spent at least a semester of their lives. That’s pretty sweet. It seems like more of another world to me than Spain or Europe in general. So I’m glad I got to see that, and I got to see two guys reproduce two other guys’ experience on screen.

This is going to sound horrible, but it’s a little harder to discern good acting when you’re not fluent in the language the actors are speaking. It’s not outright difficult to tell, to be sure, but sometimes it is. Right? Well, it was not hard to tell in this movie. I sort of just wanted to bring up that point. These guys are amazing. Gael García Bernal, as Che, and Rodrigo de la Serna as Alberto Granado exhibit the passion that these two men had, as far as I know, and they let down their guards to become them rather than act like them. It’s especially evident from Bernal’s performance and the performance of all the supporting actors that people along Che’s path knew he was something before he was something. Again, chills.

The narration is a little overbearing sometimes, as Bernal’s diary soliloquies accompany many an open-road panoramic shot, which gets a tad repetitive were it not for the rugged beauty of the scenery. And the scenery, the countryside, is the bulk of the cast of characters in their lives. I realized that a good deal through the movie, when it occurred to me that there wasn’t a plot – they were improvising, as Che had written in his diary, and there wasn’t supposed to be a plot with a climax and a resolution as the formula would suggest. That’s the beauty of this story.

The beauty is also captured in the unique still shots, which essentially replace photos but retain the subtle, human movements of people trying to stand without moving. It’s visually and mentally stimulating. Not to mention Gael.