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 Almodovars
which is to open the Cannes Film
"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.