Motorcycle Diaries

‘Che Guevara’ – This name had no significance for me a month back, but amusing co-incidences happened that I was repeatedly exposed to this man, in various forms. For people who know him, it will be trite to answer this question, and for people who dont, the question is set up such that it trite for them now, but a month back if someone asked me who is he, inspite of seeing this face on numerous tshirts and some demonstrative posters, I would have not been able to answer it.

The first correlation of the photo and the name happened in the introductory class on histories of photography, where this photo was shown as one of the most iconic images ever. This was the first time I took notice of the name ‘Che Guevara’. The next week, ‘Che Cafe‘ (a student run cafe at UCSD) reopened after probably two years of hibernation. And as you might have guessed the cafe was named after Guevara, and was a place for student activism in the 1970-80’s. At its opening I saw this iconic photo again and the correlation strengthened. I was surprised to the core, when I heard the very name on a online “hindi” news radio (hindi bbc radio) a week back. It was the 40th anniversary of his execution and they felt it important enough even for the hindi speaking audiance, to have a 10 min presentation about his life history. The final blow comes today, after seeing the movie Motorcycle Dairies (courtesy: Khatri Bhai).

Guevara was a doctor by profession, but is now best known as a revolutionary. He undertook a long journey across South America in 1952 with his friend Alberto Granado on a motorcycle. This was the trip which transformed him from a everyday doctor to the leader of Cuban guerrillas. The movie is based on a book written by Che himself with the same name and in my opinion is an exceptional movie to watch – both for the movie in itself and for what the movie represents.

From the technical standpoint, I felt the cinematography was top notch. Somehow all these latin american movies that I have seen recently – Amores Peros, The City of God to name others, have really saturated images which looks like direct positive and gives a strong feel to the movie. The background score was apt and catchy, with some good dance number thrown it. Given that the movie has a serious note to it, nevertheless it is filled with light hearted dialogs throughout, funny enough to make you smile if not laugh your gut out. I’d recommend this movie to anyone who wants to see a movie with some substance.