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The Motorcycle Diaries - Preview



Preview by: Jack Foley

ONE OF the independent film highlights of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival will undoubtedly be The Motorcycle Diaries, the film based upon the memoirs of Ernesto Che Guevara, about his trip as a youth riding across South America on a motorcycle.

The film has already received considerable acclaim on the festival circuit - most notably at Sundance, which it was tipped to open - and stars Gael Garcia Bernal as the young revolutionary, as well as Rodrigo de la Serna, Susana Lanteri and Mia Maestro.

It tells the true story of the 23-year-old medical student from Argentina, Che Guevara (Bernal), who travelled across South America on a motorcycle with his friend, Alberto Granado (de la Serna), between 1951 and 1952, in a trip which would ultimately inspire him to become the famous revolutionary, who had a profound impact on the history of several nations.

During their travels, the duo has a series of adventures that vary from the suspenseful (stowing away on a cargo ship and exploring Incan ruins) to the comic (falling off their bikes, falling in love, drinking, and fighting) to the serious (volunteering as firemen, and at a leper colony).

 

The film is directed by Walter Salles, who has already garnered considerable acclaim for his Central Station and Behind the Sun, as well as executive producing City of God.

And, according to some US reports, when the film was shown at the Eccles Theatre, ‘the place went crazy with standing ovations’. Guests at the screening in question, included executive producer, Robert Redford, and former Vice-President, Al Gore.

The film was shot in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Cuba, and was written by Jose Rivera.

It looks almost certain to bolster the already burgeoning reputation of Salles as a film-maker, while furthering the profile of Bernal, who is said to be on terrific form, as Che.

He will already be known to audiences for his roles in Y Tu Mama Tambien, Amores Perros, El Crimen Del Padre Amore, and for his upcoming performance in Pedro Almodovar’s Bad Education, which is to open the Cannes Film Festival.

"Knowing yourself is about knowing that there is a big world around you," the star told the Indiewire website, following its showing at Sundance, before adding that he felt the movie was one which depicted ‘a loss of innocence’.

As a result, he claims to have learned a lot about himself and his own country, in the process of making it.

The film should also pave the way, nicely, for another film about the Cuban revolutionary - namely, Steven Soderbergh's Che, starring Benicio Del Toro, which will focus on Che's actual political career.

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