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DIARIOS DE MOTOCICLETA/THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES

Those who remember Ernesto "Che" Guevara ó who was killed in 1967 by rightists aided by the CIA ó as a fierce, uncompromised, Marxist revolutionary will be mortified by this lollipop-land bio-pic from Brazilian director Walter Salles (Central do Brasil). Fidel Castroís compatriot is depicted as a shy Argentine med student who on a post-college 1952 road trip with a biochemist buddy "learns" that itís a rotten world out there and that poor people are neglected. Itís the social conscience of a Peace Corps volunteer, not of the far-left militant who in Cuba would bring down Fulgencio Batistaís government. The middle-class audience Salles wants to attract would be scared off by any truly radical (and more true-to-life) portrayal, so the director gives us a depoliticized, picturesque movie with "Che" played sweetly by Mexicoís art-house pin-up, Gael García Bernal (Y tu mamá también), and the South America traversed by Guevara and Alberto Grenado (Rodrigo de la Serna) as a topographic diversion. Such beauty! And the People? They remain the primitive Other, Indians without voice waiting for liberation from our white-guy movie heroes. Do you believe young "Che" swimming a river to be with his leper-colony friends? Then youíve been smitten by this bogus-to-the-core movie. In Spanish with English subtitles. (128 minutes)

BY GERALD PEARY

Issue Date: October 1 - 7, 2004
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