CHE RECONSIDERED `MOTORCYCLE DIARIES' RIDES A FINE LINE IN ITS PORTRAIT OF THE REVOLUTIONARY AS A YOUNG MAN.Byline: Glenn Whipp Film Writer
He's an icon and, like most icons, the legend of his life has overtaken the facts. In Bolivia, the site of his execution has become a tourist mecca. In college dorm rooms, his image (defiant gaze, beret adorned with a red star) remains a perennial favorite among wannabe revolutionaries. Sartre called him ``the most complete human being of our age.'' Journalist Daniel Wolf, in a recent issue of England's Spectator magazine, labeled him ``one of the most oversold Oversold
In technical analysis, it is a market in which the volume of selling that has occurred is greater than the fundamentals justify.
It is the opposite of overbought. figures of the past half century.''
Thirty-seven years after he was executed in Bolivia, Che Guevara Noun 1. Che Guevara - an Argentine revolutionary leader who was Fidel Castro's chief lieutenant in the Cuban revolution; active in other Latin American countries; was captured and executed by the Bolivian army (1928-1967)
Ernesto Guevara, Guevara lives - and then some. The man who helped Fidel Castro Noun 1. Fidel Castro - Cuban socialist leader who overthrew a dictator in 1959 and established a Marxist socialist state in Cuba (born in 1927)
Castro, Fidel Castro Ruz spearhead the Cuban revolution remains a potent and divisive figure, even though most North Americans today know him only as an image, an abstract radical.
That may change some with the release of ``The Motorcycle Diaries,'' a film festival favorite opening in limited release today that follows the 1952 journey Guevara took around Latin America Latin America, the Spanish-speaking, Portuguese-speaking, and French-speaking countries (except Canada) of North America, South America, Central America, and the West Indies. with friend Alberto Granado Alberto Granado (born on August 8, 1922 in Hernando, Córdoba, Argentina) was the travelling companion of Che Guevara during their trip around Latin America, and founder of the Santiago School of Medicine in Cuba. . The movie is based on the books that Guevara (then known by his given name, Ernesto) and Granado wrote about the trip. It's a road picture, a buddy movie and a story of self-discovery as the two young idealists see firsthand the poverty and deprivation of their continent and resolve to do something about it.
``For the generation after Guevara lived, the image of him has been continuously reproduced, almost in a Warhol manner, where it's everywhere, and I don't think people really know what he stood for,'' says ``Motorcycle Diaries'' director Walter Salles. ``We weren't looking to make a movie that was instructional or a pamphlet. It's not about politics. It's about a journey two young men took, a journey that reshaped who they would be. And it just so happens one of them would become `El Che.' ''
Guevara's account of the trip, also titled ``The Motorcycle Diaries,'' has a huge cult following This article does not discuss cultist groups, personality cults, or "cult" in its original sense of "religious practice". See cult (disambiguation) for more meanings of the term "cult". in Latin America to this day. Brazilian native Salles, 48, considers himself someone who was directly affected by Guevara's ideals and beliefs. And Gael Garcia Bernal, the 25-year-old Mexican actor who plays Guevara in the movie, says his life ``wouldn't be the same without him.''
``It's time It's Time was a successful political campaign run by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) under Gough Whitlam at the 1972 election in Australia. Campaigning on the perceived need for change after 23 years of conservative (Liberal Party of Australia) government, Labor put forward a to take Che off the T-shirts and bring him back into the real world, closer to us, closer to what he was,'' Bernal says. ``And if it moves people to examine their beliefs, fine. But that's not why we made it. I think everyone will leave the film with a certain serene confusion.''
Like most biopics of historical figures, ``The Motorcycle Diaries'' has produced its fair share of controversy. Critics contend the movie whitewashes Guevara, making him too nice and devoid of the kind of anger that would manifest itself in later years through his direct participation in firing squad executions in Cuba after Castro seized power.
``It's a valid point,'' says ``Motorcycle Diaries'' screenwriter Jose Rivera Jose Rivera or José Rivera can refer to
1. Having no interest in or association with politics.
2. Having no political relevance or importance: claimed that the President's upcoming trip was purely apolitical. . And that was one thing that attracted us to the project: Here is this enormously complex historical figure at a moment when he is at his most undecided, most open, most idealist moment in his life.''
``So that portrait is very faithful to the book,'' Rivera continues. ``Was the book sanitized san·i·tize
tr.v. san·i·tized, san·i·tiz·ing, san·i·tiz·es
1. To make sanitary, as by cleaning or disinfecting.
2. ? I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. . I do know that we added a moment that's not in the diaries, a moment I'm very proud of, where Ernesto throws a rock at a truck at a time when he's feeling pathetic and angry that he's not able to do more.''
Adds Bernal: ``He was a very quiet man, a thinker. He definitely symbolized a search, embracing a quest that is romantic in nature - changing things, ending injustice, knowing oneself, discovering one's identity. That will always make his life romantic. Yet I can say that every time we wanted to do something with the character, we would have these Byzantine discussions about whether he would really raise his voice or grab a glass with this particular hand. Truth - its essence - was always the goal.''
For the sake of veracity veracity (vras´itē),
n , the filmmakers did have an ally in Granado, ``an 83-year-young man'' (Salles' description) who met with Salles, Bernal and actor Rodrigo de la Serna La Serna may refer to: People
``Alberto has an extraordinary memory,'' Salles says. ``He gave us many first-hand accounts of what happened on the journey, events that are not in the books.''
``When he went to Cannes for the film festival, he said not a day goes by where he doesn't think of some aspect of the journey,'' Rivera adds.
Recognition and revolution
The cast and crew got a firsthand glimpse of that journey (and Granado's whip-smart memory) when they shot at the San Pablo San Pablo (săn păb`lō), city (1990 pop. 25,158), Contra Costa co., W Calif., on San Pablo Bay, a suburb of Oakland; inc. 1948. One of the oldest Spanish settlements in the region, the city is a commercial and medical center with light leper colony leper colony n → colonia de leprosos
leper colony n → léproserie f
leper colony leper n → near Iquitos in Peru. Guevara and Granado more or less ended their trip at this facility in the middle of the Amazon, spending three weeks treating its patients and crystalizing their own convictions. In a show of solidarity - and in a key moment of the film - Guevara, an asthmatic, swam across the Amazon River Amazon River
Portuguese Rio Amazonas
River, northern South America. It is the largest river in the world in volume and area of drainage basin; only the Nile River of eastern and northeastern Africa exceeds it in length. to spend a last night with the lepers.
Salles used nonactors throughout the film, picking indigenous people he found along the way as he chronologically shot the trip that Guevara and Granado took. At San Pablo, he found five former patients of the original leper colony and included them among the 90 extras at that locale. When Granado arrived, they recognized him - and he them - 50 years after meeting for the first and only time.
``It was extraordinary,'' Salles says. ``They embraced ... it was very beautiful. It was one of the most moving encounters I've ever witnessed.''
``The Motorcycle Diaries'' probably will soon have company in the ranks of Guevara biopics. Steven Soderbergh has long planned an epic that will span the revolutionary's entire life. After Soderbergh dropped out last July, Terrence Malick was hired - and later jettisoned after several disputes. Soderbergh has since returned, with production to begin next summer using a script that Malick wrote. Throughout, Benicio Del Toro Toro may refer to:
``I hope it gets made,'' Salles says. ``Malick was in Bolivia when Guevara was executed. He was writing a profile on him for The New Yorker, so there is that history. You know, his life had so many phases; you could make several movies about Che and still not be done. The truth is, I don't think we'll ever be done with him.''
Glenn Whipp, (818) 713-3672
(1 -- cover -- color) CHASING CHE
`The Motorcycle Diaries' looks for the young man behind the myth
(2) Rodrigo de la Serna, left, and Gael Garcia Bernal in ``The Motorcycle Diaries.''
(3) Walter Salles, right, director of ``Motorcycle Diaries,'' on the set with actor Gael Garcia Bernal