Motorcycle Diaries details the onset of Ernesto Guevara’s revolution. The historical messages to leave this film with are the reasons for Che’s revolution and his overall view of life and equality. Coupled with the readings for this week, the movie Che, initially portrayed as an middle class medical student, who lies his way across Latin America, witnesses the atrocities of his continent.
Throughout Diaries, there is a disparity between the wealthy and the poor. What would a Marxist revolutionary film be without it? Alas, due to the United States’ influence over Latin America’s production and policy, the Marxist ideals of the growing middle class emphasize opportunity and equality above all. Diaries displays this in the mining company and the leper colony. Guevara recognizes an immense problem in Latin American society. He tries to fix it with whatever is at his disposal, for example the fifteen dollars and his asthma medication. It is apparent that Che realizes that these issues are larger than him and he does not have access to the required solutions.
Paulo Drinot criticizes Diaries’ Peruvian oil company scene. She states that the larger problem in Peru at the time of Guevara’s trip was “the deep racial prejudice that underpins the country’s entrenched inequalities” (118). Drinot declares the movie Che’s line, that the Peruvians believed the Indians should live and only just, as a “melodramatic device” to show Guevara’s changing social view and the beginning of his anger at the bourgeoisie.
Eduardo Elena parallels the Peronist era in Argentina and Guevara’s trip. If memory serves, before Che leaves his home, he mentions something of his father and a revolution, in a mocking manner. This may allude that Guevara’s father was a Peronist, a political group which favored nationalism (Elena 22). In contrast to his father, who wished for him to stay and finish his medical schooling, Che leaves on his continental journey. This presents us a new stage in Latin American history, one from nationalism to revolution. Eduardo Elena argues that “the guerilla-traveler attempted to lead a revolution among a largely indigenous population about whom he knew almost nothing” (48). This is entirely possible; Che’s migratory lifestyle may have expanded the reach of his message but it would also reduce the efficacy.