Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Motorcycle Diaries

"The Motorcycle Diaries", set in 1952, depicts a young Che Guevara-known as Ernesto or Fuser in the film-(Gael Garcia Bernal) as he and his close friend Alberto Granada(Rodrigo de la Serna) travel across South America on a leaky, broken-down motorcycle which they call "The Mighty One". Their original goal is to reach the very-most southern point of the America's, have fun and pick up women along the way. Although once they witness the deep separation of rich and poor (specifically in Peru) their motives change awfully quick. Directed by Walter Salles’s, this film was touching, beautiful, heart warming, funny and inspiring.

The film is full of extreme long-shots which show the majesty that is South America. This affects the characters as well as the viewers. The shots of the open scenery, the abandoned Incan ruins, and the impoverished towns throughout are generally shot in high-key lighting with many colors and vivid images, indicating that these scenes are ‘the good guys’ of South America, the underdogs if you will. Whereas the scenes depicting the big cities are very dull in terms of color.

Nature also played an important role with symbolism in this film. For example, Ernesto and Alberto get overpowered by nature early in the film, when they are trying to set up a tent in the rain, and the wind sweeps the tent away into a river. Another example of this is when they run into snow while driving through Chile and afterwards end up having to let The Mighty One go. These specific examples seem to show how powerful nature is, but later in the movie, once Ernesto and Alberto become less ignorant to the problems of unity throughout their trip, they and the viewer start become aware of how man uses this power of nature to his advantage. The most obvious illustration of this is how a river is used to divide the people infected with leprosy from those who are taking care of them. Ernesto breaks this barrier by swimming across the river to stay and celebrate with his friends with leprosy on the other side.

Another aspect of the film that I found particularly interesting was the camera movement. A great deal of the movie is shot with a hand-held camera or a steadicam. This gives the audience the feeling that they are in the movie, or that they are an outside observer of these two friends, almost as if the audience is filming their journey.

Overall, this film was wonderful. I enjoyed the clever writing and acting that carried it out so well. I also appreciated the symbolism, the awe-inspiring scenery, the story in general, the choices in cinematography and the significance of the film’s message as a whole. Bravo a Salles para esta pelĂ­cula hermosa.

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