Thanks to 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung, the legendary Che Guevara is almost a household name in Hong Kong. The release of Motorcycle Diaries, a biographical movie of the revolutionary, is therefore timely and meaningful for young people who are living in Hong Kong's muddy political and social times.
It tells the story of medical student Ernesto 'Che' Guevara (Gael Garcia Bernal) who in 1952 travels with his friend Alberto Granado (Rodrigo De la Serna) through Chile, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela on a motorcycle.
The trip starts off as a fun and exciting journey until the pair come across oppressed and poor indigenous people who suffer from diseases or are exploited by landowners.
Director Walter Salles (Central Station) has done a wonderful job in melding a road movie and a coming-of-age story into a film that is as entertaining as much it is thought-provoking. The exotic and vibrant landscapes of South America contrast sharply to the black-and-white stills of suffering indigenous people.
Bernal is brilliant as the young Che while De la Serna provides many humorous moments to a film that explores human suffering.
The film delivers an important message that travelling can be a life-changing experience that exceeds a shopping spree or night out dining.