In 1952, twenty-three year old medical student Ernesto Guevara de la Serna - Fuser to his friends and later better known as 'Ernesto Che Guevara' - one semester away from graduation, decides to postpone his last semester to accompany his twenty-nine year old biochemist friend 'Alberto Granado' - Mial to his friends - on his four month, 8,000 km long dream motorcycle trip throughout South America starting from their home in Buenos Aires. Their quest is to see things they've only read about in books about the continent on which they live, and to finish that quest on Alberto's thirtieth birthday on the other side of the continent in the Guajira Peninsula in Venezuela. Not all on this trip goes according to their rough plan due to a broken down motorbike, a continual lack of money (they often stretching the truth to gain the favor of a variety of strangers to help them), arguments between the two in their frequent isolation solely with each other, their raging libidos which sometimes get ... Written by
"Al otro lado del río", by Uruguayan composer Jorge Drexler became the second song in a language other than English to win an Oscar. (The first was "Ta paidia toy Peiraia" (Children of Piraeus) by Greek composer Manos Hatzidakis from the film Never on Sunday (1960)). Producers asked Drexler, who wrote and recorded the song for the film, not to perform it during the Oscar ceremony, citing "commercial reasons" (he's not famous). Antonio Banderas and Carlos Santana performed the song instead. When Drexler went to the podium to accept his Oscar, he sang about 30 seconds of the song a capella, instead of giving a speech. See more »
At the end of the movie, when Che is at the airport, a yellow GMC pickup drives by. The pickup has a 1-piece windshield, which GMC introduced after 1952. See more »
I would not consider myself to be an ultra liberal, but I am somewhat knowledgeable about what has been going on in South America for the last 100 years, and Che Guevara is a part of it. Going into this movie all I knew about him was that he is on a lot of t-shirts, and that "che", despite what ignorant people think, is not his name, it is what Argentinians say to each other like in the US saying "dude".
I am also a big fan of the purity of movies, not this Spider-man crap that is all over the place, but the true art of films, and I am fairly serious when I go into a movie for the first time. A part of this is that I watch the movie throwing all bias I might have out the window and watch it as if I had never heard of it before. That said, I believe this movie was excellent because it had superb cinematography of the beauty of South America, had excellent acting, great chemistry between the two main actors (despite Ebert saying they did not), and an overall political theme.
This movie did not get great reviews in the US, and I haven't seen reviews from Latin American countries, but I am guessing they are better. This is because many people either shied away from the movie once they heard the word Che, and if they did see it, through the whole movie they were probably thinking "commie, commie!".
I have since read up on Che Guevara, and he is actually a fascinating person to study because he began as a rich boy who through his journeys learned how much people were suffering beyond his imagination, and part of this was how he got to be so rich, by suppressing the native people. The movie does an excellent job of showing this transition from his carefree exploring until later having an epiphany about his destiny to help the people. Yes, he got extreme after a while, but the study of him is compelling nonetheless.
It is interesting to know that coffee and bananas that say "Guatemala" are still grown today by slave laborers on farms, and that the US does not mind the slave labor because they were the ones who sponsored a coup in 1951 to install a dictatorship that in history books says it was an ousting of communism, which makes it okay. This is a much bigger and important example than the movie, but it is the same bias involved: People in the United States (I don't say America because that refers to every country from Argentina to Canada, not just the US as people in this country like to think) not only don't care about the suffering of people in other countries (unless it's mentioned on Oprah or involves economic rewards) but have the nerve to call them evil when they try to better themselves, which at the time was the communist movement in South America. This is not the communism of Castro or even of the later Che Guevara, but simply to give more to the starving and suppressed that are today suppressed to make your bananas and Starbucks coffee.
Because of the biases people have towards the people of countries they know nothing about, this movie has been extremely underrated in the wake of films that comparatively suck ("Ray", way overrated) yet have been rewarded because of their popularity and appeasement to the ignorant people that attend theaters in the United States.
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