living in

Living In: The Motorcycle Diaries

by Maxwell Tielman

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There are numerous reasons why one might want to travel—to taste new foods, to explore natural wonders, to escape from the law—but long-term travel often comes with one universal outcome: self discovery. Divorced from one’s comfort zone and thrust into uncharted territories, the traveler is often forced to expand his knowledge and definition of self. This is exactly what happens in The Motorcycle Diaries, Walter Salles’ 2004 dramatization of the young Che Guevara’s formative journey around South America. Starring Gael Garcia Bernal as the bright-eyed young Che and Rodrigo De la Serna as his trusty sidekick, the film is a beautiful depiction of both South America’s geographic treasures and a young man’s path to self discovery. Although the film is essentially a depiction of the impetus for Che Guevara’s later life as a revolutionary, it also functions as a broad call to travel: the beautiful scenery, heartwarming detours, and celebration of friendship provides an inspiring message, sure to fill any viewer with wanderlust. —Max


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Film: The Motorcycle Diaries

Year:  2004

Director: Walter Salles

Starring: Gael Garía Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna

Production Design: Carlos Conti

Art Direction: Graciela Oderigo, Laurent Ott, María Eugenia Sueiro

Set Decoration: Carlos Conti

Costume Design: Beatriz De Benedetto, Marisa Urruti

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  • This was such a beautiful film on so many levels – absolutely one of my all-time favorites. As a person who has done a lot of solo international traveling, any road trip film speaks to me muy mucho.
    Thank you for including this film Max!
    Also- may I recommend “Y Tu Mama Tambien”? A road trip of a different sort, but equally interesting (and….fun).

  • Though not a fan of Che, I found it impossible not to get sucked into this retelling of his travel through South America. The film itself depicts the continent beautifully, and I never realized until then just how truly gorgeous it is. Che’s character arc in the film is one of the best I’ve seen in cinema.

  • I’ve loved the Living In series since it launched with my all time favorite movie, Out of Africa. Such a neat concept, and it’s always fun to discover great sounding (and looking) movies I’ve never heard of, like this one. But I do miss seeing the prices that used to be listed right along with the link to each item! :)

  • I just love this. After visiting Cuba last fall, I see Che in a completely different light. Should probably rewatch The Motorcycle Diaries!

  • Just awesome. As cheesy as it sounds, after watching The Motorcycle Diaries I called my then-boyfriend and said we should get married and go into the Peace Corps together. And we actually did. I can’t believe that was 9 years ago!

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