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THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES

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Walter Salles Jr.'s bio-pic, based on the diaries of the young Ernesto "Che" Guevara and Alberto Granado, depicts the middle-class Argentines' adventures as they set out for Venezuela on a rusty motorbike. Salles' film is muy romantico -- in that sweeping sentimental Latin sense -- from dignifying abject conditions (these are not poor miners, they are Noble People!) to the film's final shot guaranteed to bring a tear to any companero's eye. Really the film is about a trio of characters: Alberto (Rodrigo de la Serna), Ernesto (Gael Garcia Bernal) -- and our knowledge of the iconic Che to come. To that end, the film presents only the most rudimentary of political discovery. But there's pleasure in the film's easy-going romance, particularly in its love affair of the open road, and in the charm of the two leads, as we vicariously share their sense of discovery in a prettily shot travelogue. In Spanish with subtitles. (AH)

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