New Award for 2011
Director: Walter Salles
Screenplay: Jose Rivera, based on books by Ernesto Guevara and Alberto Granado
Producers: Edgard Tenenbaum, Michael Nozik and Karen Tenkoff
Distributor: Focus Features
UK release: 2004
Motorcycle Diaries: what's the story?
The film tells the story of the motorcycle trip Cuban-Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado made across south America in 1952, and how it transformed Che and set him on the path he was to follow for the rest of his life.
Che is a 23-year-old medical student when the pair start the four-month, 8,000-kilometre trip, with the aim of seeing for themselves the continent in which they live. At first they are just two young, carefree men looking for fun and adventure, but as they come face to face with the poverty of the indigenous peasants, meet Communists and volunteer at a leper colony in Peru, Che realises how wide the gap is between the rich and the poor, and decides to dedicate his life to bringing about change.
Who's in Motorcycle Diaries?
The film stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna, Mercedes Moran and Mia Maestro. It's in Spanish with English subtitles.
Where's Motorcycle Diaries set?
Screenwriter Jose Rivera described the film as "a story about what it is to be transformed by geography, by encounters with cultures and people that are alien from yourself." The story starts in Buenos Aires and takes Che and Alberto through Chile, across the Atacama desert, into the Peruvian Amazon and finally to Colombia and Venezuela. There is footage of the Nahuel Huapi Lake, Valparaiso, Cuzco, Machu Picchu and Caracas.
Tour operators in Latin America received a surge of inquiries after the film was released, and some of them offered Che Guevara-themed trips. In May 2010, tourism chiefs in Argentina, Bolivia and Cuba announced that they were working together on an international tourist route that would trace Che's life, entitled Caminos de Che (Che's Path).
What awards has Motorcycle Diaries won?
The film won an Oscar for best original song, a BAFTA for best foreign language film, the Anthony Asquith Award for film music, three awards at the Cannes Film Festival, and 21 other awards.
What do the reviews say about Motorcycle Diaries?
Adrian Hennigan, for the BBC, called it "an intoxicating, visually stunning movie and a tender and memorable insight into one of the 20th century's most iconic figures. It's one of the best movies of 2004." The Daily Telegraph's Nick Cowen added: "The cinematography of fog-cloaked mountains, lush green forests and sunburned deserts is breathtakingly beautiful enough to serve as a travel advert for the entire continent." Sukdhev Sandhu, also writing in the Telegraph, said: "The Motorcycle Diaries is passionate, engaging, and excellently photographed by Eric Gautier. Bernal puts in a terrific performance."