Motorcycle Diaries: the anti-Che & anti-road movie

Posted by Tim Posada On 12:19 AM
I have little respect for Relevant magazine. Some time ago they did a film review on the film The Motorcycle Diaries. But this review did not actually discuss anything about the film save the concept of portraying Che Guevara in a possitive way. The review simply tore the film apart for portraying a montrous killer as a young idealist. Unfortunately, such a review only furthers the distance between North American (or western) views on such things this film addresses. It would be easier for us all to simply disregard Che as a muderous revolutionary whose lust for power proved that the CIA was justified in aiding his assassination. It's very western to demonize someone and believe that they were not pure-hearted idealists. I do not know the complete story about Che. What I know is limited to the credibility of those whom wear his T-shirts and this film that I cannot shake.

The real Che and the Che of his diaries may be two different people, but that is not what is important. The Motorcycle Diaries is not about Che, it is about a young potential med student who goes on a road trip in hopes of finding himself and getting some tail, but instead realizes that the world he wanted to take advantage of was too fucked up for another apathetic academic snob to ignore. The Relevant review missed it spent its view hundred words more worried about the messenger than the message.

This is a gorgeous that has caused me to rethink things. Suddenly, I don't to learn German in order to better understand certain cultural scholars, instead I have, once again, heard the call of Spanish and the hope of reading from large body of writers that revealed much about the oppression of Latin America: Che, liberation theologians, and Octavio Paz. I find myself torn by a film. When a bunch of stuck up white people are tyring to say that film is ruining the youth of America, I find myself moved by something those same ignorant/apathetic/don't-know-any- better white people would not even be able to find amidst their complaints.

I've been taking a road movie class, and find that this road movie critiques every other Americna road movie. While it does so in several ways, I find myself stuck on one scene. Che and his traveling companion come across an older married couple traveling and looking for mining work (this is the only work they can get since they are communists). They ask if Che and co. are looking for work, and they say no because they are traveling just to travel. Here is the biggest kick in the nuts (this could work literally as road movies are a male dominated genre) of most American road movies. The road movie is a reflection of western privilege. Only in the U.S. could someone travel just to travel. We dream of being mobile...with our back up plan. People camp and travel because they are forced and we camp and travel for liesure activity. What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?

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