The Journey with Jesus: Film Reviews

Film Reviews by Dan Clendenin

Motorcycle DiariesThe Motorcycle Diaries (2004)—Argentinian-German

In 1952, twenty-three year old Ernesto Guevara de la Serna and his best friend Alberto Granado left school and their wealthy families on an 8,000 mile trek from Argentina to the northern tip of Peru. Their initial purpose was nothing more than fun and games, and to celebrate Alberto's thirtieth birthday. Along the way they encounter exploited miners, indigenous Indians, and disenfranchised lepers, and the geographical pilgrimmage turns into a political awakening. As Ernesto remarks at the end of the film, "I'm no longer me, at least the me I used to be." You can enjoy this film as a coming-of-age travel narrative with spectacular scenery of Incan ruins and the Andes mountains. As a political documentary of its main subject, the revolutionary Che Guevara, it is at best romantic and incomplete. The founder with Fidel Castro of the 1956 Cuban Revolution, with later exploits in Congo and Bolivia, Guevara was murdered in Bolivia in 1967 at the age of 39. Still, there is something deeply powerful about the "pedagogy of the poor" learned from real life experiences of injustice and oppression such as are recounted here, and which are the lot of a disproportionate number of people in our world. The film, in Spanish with English subtitles, is based upon Guevara's diaries of the trip. Granado, now in his eighties, still lives in Havana.