December 16, 2004

Motorcycle Diaries, City of God, Man on Fire

If you are in the mood for watching Latin American movies, here are some recommendations.

Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de motocicleta) is starring Gael García Bernal as young Ché Guevara embarking on an 13,240 km journey with a friend around South American continent on a motorcycle in 1951-1952. As the young medical student goes further away from Buenos Aires, his focus shifts from school and girlfriend to the perenial problems of the continent: poverty, exploitation, injustice, and diseases. Bernal's performance is outstanding! My only objection is that Ché is portrayed as short, slim young man of frail health, which stands in contrast with his photographs and legend.

City of God (Cidade de Deus) narrates the story of the housing project for poor built by the government on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. The movie shows the brand new settlement of Cidade de Deus in 1960's with a handful of kids committing petty crimes. The narrator explains how, in a span of two decades, those handful of kids caused complete demolition of the town, numerous casualties, and created a place where police is too afraid to enter (there was a very nice National Geographic article a copule of years ago). The economists will see this as an unsuccessful experiment in government with good intentions flocking a lot of poor people into the same area. I wonder if the downward spiral was unavoidable - if Zé Pequeno and his friends were never born, would there have been a handful of other kids to start a drug ring and eventually ruin the city?

The third move, Man on Fire [imdb] is actually a hollywood movie starring Denzel Washington. As it is also a true story (supposedly), and as it speaks of kidnapping and corruption in Mexico, it deserves to be on this list of Latin American movies. It takes place in the modern day (1990's). Good action flick.

Posted by laza at December 16, 2004 07:05 PM | TrackBack
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