Film of the Week – The Motorcycle Diaries

Whilst Lincoln Film Society is on hiatus for the foreseeable future and The Venue and other cinemas around the country are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we thought we should keep community film appreciation alive through these testing times by curating a ‘film of the week’ series for members. These will be films readily available on Freeview TV or free catch-up services, so those without paid options won’t be excluded.

Keep an eye out on our blog here, our Facebook and Twitter feeds, and in our weekly newsletters for the selected titles. Our committee members will be picking the films and sharing their thoughts. You can join in the discussion in our new Facebook group, via Twitter or in the comments section of the website.

Our latest pick is The Motorcycle Diaries, which is available to watch on All4. Here’s a handy link to get straight to it, or you can use the search or browse options on your smart TV or mobile app.

It was chosen by LFS committee member Helen Hancocks. Her thoughts on the film follow:

The Motorcycle Diaries

Argentina 2004
Dir: Walter Salles
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo De La Serna
Cert 15
126 mins

In 1952, 23-year old medical student Ernesto Guevara de la Serna – Fuser to his friends and later better known as Ernesto Che Guevara – one semester away from graduation, decides to postpone his studies to accompany his 29-year old biochemist friend Alberto Granado on a four-month, 8,000 km dream motorcycle trip through South America.

Starting from their home in Buenos Aires, their quest is to see things they’ve only read about in books about the continent on which they live, finishing on Alberto’s 30th birthday on the other side of the continent in the Guajira Peninsula in Venezuela.

Not everything on the trip goes according to plan, due to a broken-down motorbike, a continual lack of money and dealing with Fuser’s chronic asthma. Arguments between them and their raging libidos sometimes get them into trouble and they often stretch the truth in order to gain the favour of the people they encounter. But a chance meeting with a couple of Communists in the Chilean desert and an extended visit to the San Pablo Leper Colony in the Perúvian Amazon Basin (among other things that they witness) profoundly affect what each will want to do with their lives and the bond they have with the other.

Guevara later remarked that through his travels in Latin America he came in close contact with people living with poverty, hunger and disease, and cited the experiences he had on this journey as convincing him that, in order to “help these people”, he needed to leave the realm of medicine and consider the political arena of armed struggle.

Sue Archer