The MotorCycle Diaries

Che’ Guevara has almost become synonymous with Revolution in today’s world.

Born Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, Che’ went on to fight for communism and equality and become a hero to every one who thinks of himself as a rebel. A certain photograph of him can be seen on the T-Shirts of many a punk guys. But there is more to it and the movie in concern talks about making of the “Man”. I am no movie critique but the movie touched me so much, I was compelled to express my views about it.

The movie starts with Che’, 23, and his friend Alberto Granado, 29, decide to travel across the continent of South America. Che’ was studying to be a doctor, a leprosy specialist, and Granado was a biochemist. They start from Buenos Aires to Venezuela via Chile, Peru and Columbia. They pack up all the bare necessities and begin their sojourn on an old motorcycle. This very idea of packing off some stuff and cameras in a backpack and hitch hiking through the country fascinates me to the core. To me it means the confirmation of the free spirit. And out they were, to explore the world, understand human life and its meaning. I was hooked. They had a totally unpredictable world ahead of them, with no form of humanity to support or bail them out. But, I guess, it was their restlessness, dreaming and adventurous spirit that took them through.

They wander off to Miramar to meet Che’s girl friend, Chichina. Here I too will wander off the topic to speak a word about the Latin beauties. They have a fair skin, not shiny and black hair and a husky voice. “Lovely” is the word. Che’s girl was so beautiful I almost instantly fell in love with her. How he managed to leave her behind is tough to understand. Still, moving on towards some really beautiful land, they encountered troubles with the bike, tents blown off, falling of the bike sometimes even breaking down the bike.

They used their illustrious “doctor” status and sweet talking to find themselves places to sleep at people’s homes. Che’ was very faithful to his medicine profession and whenever he could, he did go out and help those who would ask for it. Granado was one of the fun loving, sweet talking types who just wanted to have a good time. Also Che’ was one of the straight talking types, those who tell the truth no matter what.

I got so engrossed in the man, I almost forgot about the movie. It is a brilliant movie with so many beautiful landscapes, melodious music and, for me, awesome photography. Despite it being in Spanish, I loved every bit of it. I might have not made sense but if you see it once, you might as well appreciate it.

On arriving in Peru, they saw something which was to change their lives forever. There was poverty and exploitation all around. Spaniards had taken over the country and the corrupt “rich and the police” combined to capture all the land of the farmers. The poverty and the hardships of this life made Che’ very emotional and sensitive towards pain. It is here that the seeds of socialism and communism were laid in his mind. The sensitivity with which this is portrayed in the movie is touching. On leaving Miramar, Chichina had given him 15$ to get her some stuff. Che’ had not parted with the money even when he was dying of an asthma attack. But seeing the pain of these Peruvians, he distributed the money amongst them. This signals his breaking off the shackles of personal desires and thinking of the humanity as a whole.

They break down their bike in Chile and still went on with the remaining of their journey of foot, hitch hiking and via the boat. Their spirit was just indomitable. Walking relentlessly for days and hundreds of kilometers they reach a leprosy centre in Peru and spend some time there. Then they take a boat ride on the Amazon to the main centre of leprosy in Latin America. The pain and the plight of the patients there changed their lives forever. Che’ gave his all to the inmates of the hospital. He refused to use surgical gloves while treating them. He healed them in the true sense, the body and the mind. They played football together, danced and celebrated his 24th birthday together. On the eve of his 24th birthday, he swam across the Amazon, a feat not achieved in memory. He had come of age. He had become a Man.

Che’ dreamt of a socially equal, harmonious, and united Latin America. And he went on to live that Dream

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