Review: Motorcycle Diaries

Motorcylce Diaries
Diarios de Motocicleta (2004)
Walter Salles

Motorcycle DiariesAs a work of fiction, it was enjoyable. If the movie wasn’t based on such a popular figure whose face is on every T-shirts and posters, I’d have enjoyed it more and forget my usual nit-picking on the cult of Che and have less reason to feel such irritation about what it’s doing. (The usual problems with biographical films: hagiographic, too naively, glamourly romanticised, a charade on martyrdom all the while ignoring his savage sympathies and deeds, blah blah blah.) So to reiterate: it’s best treated purely as, well, a fiction not based on anyone. Forget who he’s supposed to represent, forget what this film is doing to those who wear his face without knowing what and who he was.

As my birthday present though, it was loved for the following reasons:
1. García Bernal looks like Jeff Buckley. Now I regret not catching Y Tu Mamá También , but back then I dismissed it as an overhyped, raunchy bandwagonesque “Latino” sensation. Plus the cover was focused on the lady, not Bernal.
2. It was just a very nice thing to watch at the dawn of your birthday with no one around. A selfish syncretic escape hatch that freed one of all responsibilities even if for just 2 hours, and fed on every college student’s desire for a vagabond tour. (Thought it makes me question my 24 sorry years of existence.)
3. Alberto’s birthday supposedly a day after mine.
4. They keep saying Garcia Lorca (and Neruda). What are you doing down by the watermelons?

Note: Thanks to Gita and Cecil for sending me the DVD.

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