Kelsey and I finally began our Spanish movie night with El laberinto del fauno last Wednesday, which was a great start- this week we’re hoping to show Los diarios de motocliclaje or The Motorcycle Dairies, a dramatization of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guaveras diaries of his youthful roadtrip across Latin America in the 1950s that led to his calling as a social revolutionary. Kelsey and I hadn’t realized that Ernesto’s character was the youthful portrayal of ‘Che’ (one of the hazards of picking MRC films at random) so we’re looking forward to re-viewing this film in a political, biographical context. Of course, there have been dozens of portrayals of ‘Che’ Guavera, by famous actors such as Benicio del Toro and Omar Sherif, but Gabriel Garcia Bernal does a fantastic job of creating a human young man before he became an icon. As always, I attached the English trailer below.
One of the problems that we’re running across while compiling clips for Cineglos is that the majority of the clips we’ve been making are from films based in Spain or by Spanish directors. This may be explained by our current obsession with Pedro Almódovar films, but also because the majority of Spanish-speaking movies in the MRC are from Spain.
As a result, Kelsey and I have changed our tactics from picking films randomly or following directors and actors we enjoy to actively seeking out more Latin American films, especially those who have contributed to an independent industry that rejects cinematic tactics of Hollywood.
Yesterday I watched La historia oficial , the first Argentinean film to win an Academy Award for best Foreign Language Film in 1985. The film deals with the collapse of the military dictatorship in 1983 and the subsequent collapse of one woman’s world, as she begins to realize the extent of her husband’s complicity in the years of brutality during the junta. Since I’m a Latin American studies concentrator, I was impressed by both the history (the movie was made in conjunction with the Madres de Plaza Mayor, families of those who remain kidnapped and disappeared) and the cinematographic shots that variy between distant, more subjective shots of the upper-class and the painful close-up shots as Alicia, the main character, begins to learn the truth. Having these clips in a film class are essential in showing how film is not just an art or entertainment form within itself, but a vehicle of biography, politics and history, as in both The Motorcycle Diaries and The Official Story.