March 26, 2013

Happy Tues. Nice day here. We got a few inches of new snow over the weekend. Temp -2.

Not a lotta news yokelly. We watched a 2004 movie about Che Guevara called The Motorcycle Diaries, in Spanish with English subtitles. The plot is a motorcycle trip young Ernesto took with a friend. Allegedly it was on this trip that the young medical student witnessed at first hand the grinding poverty and injustice throughout much of Latin America. In later life, or course, he famously helped Fidel Castro carry out the Cuban revolution, and after that traveled to other countries to fight for the poor, as he probably would have put it. He was killed in Bolivia in 1967 while he was trying to help rouse Bolivian peasants, who are overwhelmingly Indigenous peoples, to take over the country. That eventually happened in about 2000. Che has been portrayed as a romantic revolutionary, his face ubiquitous on tee-shirts. He probably did sympathize with the plight of the poor, but his solution was authoritarianism on the model of Cuba in the past 50 years.

The film occurs before any of that, however. The two young men, ages 29 and 24 (Che) ride an old motorcycle from Buenos Aires over a pass in the Andes to Chile, then after they wreck the bike by running into a cow, travel north hitchhiking through Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, with a side trip to the Peruvian Amazon to volunteer at a leper colony run by Catholic missionaries. Che’s older friend, a biochemist, later travelled to Cuba after the revolution and ran the government hospitals there. The film shows lots of good scenery. South America is vast and beautiful. The effort to situate the story in 1952 is pretty successful. Judging from the number of times the young men ran the motorcycle off the road (most of the roads were dirt and gravel), they were lucky to survive the trip. Worth a viewing if you are interested in South America or Che. Ebert gave it 2.5 stars. Lots of profanity in Spanish that comes out milder in the subtitles. The acting is good, with good music.


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