The Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de motocicleta) (Magna Pacific) (2004)

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Released 10-Nov-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Behind the scenes of The Motorcycle Diaries
Featurette-"The Coming of Age of a Cultural Icon"
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Walter Salles, Gael Garcia Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna..
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 120:49 (Case: 114)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Walter Salles
Studio
Distributor

Magna Home Entertainment
Starring Gael García Bernal
Rodrigo De la Serna
Mercedes Morán
Jean Pierre Noher
Lucas Oro
Marina Glezer
Sofia Bertolotto
Franco Solazzi
Ricardo Díaz Mourelle
Sergio Boris
Daniel Cargieman
Diego Giorzi
Facundo Espinosa
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $21.95 Music Jorge Drexler
Gustavo Santaolalla


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

“This isn't a tale of heroic feats. It's about two lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams.” - Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (1952)

Walter Salles’ critically acclaimed Diarios de motocicleta (2004) is an incredible achievement and a stunning masterwork. The Academy Award winning biographical film details the ambitious eight month journey thorough South America by Ernesto "Che" Guevara and his older best friend Alberto Granado in 1952. The film presents an affectionate account of Guevara and Granado’s first expedition of Latin America on an unreliable but practical Norton 500 motorcycle, affectionately christened La Poderosa ("The Mighty One"). Their journey is motivated by innocence and independence but gradually descends into a life affirming experience as their morals and virtue are challenged by the poverty they encounter. The film details the journey of two privileged men and how they begin to understand their world and define their future.

Mexican actor Gael García Bernal stars in the role of the Argentine-born physician turned Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Argentine actor Rodrigo de la Serna stars as Alberto Granado, a biochemist and Guevara’s charming travelling companion. It is interesting to note Rodrigo De la Serna is the actual second cousin of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and Gael García Bernal had previously starred as Guevara in the 2002 TV miniseries titled Fidel. Diarios de motocicleta is based on Guevara’s book of the same name and Granado’s Con el Che por America Latina as well as interviews with Granado and his family.

The film like the journey it presents is inspirational, ambitious and unforgettable as Guevara and Granado find themselves in awe of the grand landscapes of Argentina, Chile, Peru, Columbia and Venezuela and it's people. The camaraderie between Guevara and Granado is a joy to watch as both Gael García Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna have amazing screen presence and bring heart and soul to their characters. Gael García Bernal is admirable in the pivotal role, but it is Rodrigo de la Serna who truly shines through. Diarios de motocicleta is beautifully directed and masterfully paced and is a wonderful film that will be enjoyed by those who take pleasure in quality cinema.

*Winner of 2005 BAFTA Film Award (Best Film not in the English Language)
*Three times winner at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival (François Chalais Award, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Technical Grand Prize)
*Winner of the 2005 Directors Guild of Great Britain Award
*Winner of two 2005 Independent Spirit Awards (Best Cinematography - Eric Gautier and Best Debut Performance - Rodrigo De la Serna)
*Three times winner of the Silver Condor at the 2005 Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards (Best Actor - Rodrigo De la Serna, Best Music - Gustavo Santaolalla, Best Adapted Screenplay - Jose Rivera)

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Transfer Quality

Video

The 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced PAL transfer for Diarios de motocicleta is simply stunning considering the length of the film. Just the video takes up 5 Gb of the dual layer DVD.

Unfortunately the opening credits are marred by visible telecine wobble however the lush landscapes of the film have been beautifully produced with good shadow detail and a natural earthy colour palette. There were a few unfortunate events of mild aliasing but these incidents were not particularly distracting.

The film also features hand held camera in some scenes and the transfer retains focus despite movement in the frame. The film grain seems to be an artistic choice as it lends to the 1950s setting of the film. The scenes set in the darkness of night remain distinctly clear as black levels are solid and there are no incidents of MPEG compression despite the film’s length of two hours.

The English subtitles for the Spanish and Quechua languages of the film are burnt onto the print and appear in a clear white font. Also the location and dates unique to the film appear in their original language and font. The screen shot below demonstrates these subtitles:

Overall the treatment of the subtitles is clear, distinguished and not distracting. I prefer this treatment of subtitles to forced player generated subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
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Shadow Detail
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Film Artefacts
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Audio

The Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 is also high quality and flawless as it remains clear and replicates the natural soundscape of the open land. The soundtrack is much more centred on ambience and creating the joyful and sometimes melodramatic mood of the film rather then creating a volatile environment.

As such the film has moderate use of the surround sound and subwoofer but proves to be an enjoyable experience audio wise. Dialogue is clear and audible and there is good channel seperation. A Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is also an option.

Jorge Drexler’s song ‘Al otro lado del río’ rightfully won the Academy Award in 2005 for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song. Gustavo Santaolalla’s score is truly enchanting as it captures the unexpected beauty of the characters' journey. The music of the film is certainly a joy and it is a shame the local DVD does not include a DTS soundtrack..

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
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Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu

Well conceived practical main menu which is animated and accompanied by a section of the score. The design imitates a journal, with maps and assorted pictures.

Behind the scenes of The Motorcycle Diaries (12:40)

This extra feature consists of assorted behind the scenes footage from the various locations used for the production. This extra feature is unfortunately not subtitled in English (Spanish dialogue is spoken on set) and is simply hand-held filmed footage of the actors and director at a distance.

The Coming of Age of a Cultural Icon (8:35)

Walter Salles, Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna and Robert Redford who was the executive producer of the film discuss their motivation in adapting the book for the screen, the casting process, meeting Alberto Granado and how the film exists between the genre of documentary and fictional cinema.

Interviews-Cast & Crew

The following is a selection of extended interviews from the The Coming of Age of a Cultural Icon featurette. The individual interviews feature title cards which indicate the questions asked of the cast and crew. The interviewees cover the various themes of the film and particularly how the film impacted on them. This is a great extra feature as the film is discussed in various points of view, from the director, to the lead actors to the producers and covers all areas of the production of the film.

Dendy DVD

Trailers for The Weeping Camel (2003), L’Idole (2002), Morvern Callar (2002) and Amélie (2001)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

Worldwide Diarios De Motocicleta has been released in surprisingly very different versions:

The PAL R4 single DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the NTSC R1 single DVD release:

The NTSC R1 single DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the PAL R4 single DVD release:

The PAL R4 single DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the PAL R2 (FRANCE) single DVD release:

The PAL R2 (FRANCE) single DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the PAL R4 single DVD release:

The PAL R4 single DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the PAL R2 (Holland) 3 disc set DVD release:

The PAL R2 (Holland) 3 disc set DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the PAL R4 single DVD release:

The PAL R4 single DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the PAL R2 (SCANDINAVIA) 2 Disc Set DVD release:

The PAL R2 (SCANDINAVIA) 2 Disc Set DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the PAL R4 single DVD release:

The PAL R4 single DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the PAL R2 (UK) single DVD release:

The PAL R2 (UK) single DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the PAL R4 single DVD release:

The PAL R4 single DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the NTSC R3 (HONG KONG) single DVD release:

The NTSC R3 (HONG KONG) single DVD release is missing the following specifications and extras in comparison with the PAL R4 single DVD release:

If you would like the film with the original Spanish soundtrack in DTS with optional English subtitles without the extras choose the NTSC R3 (HONG KONG).

For the most extras and the original Spanish soundtrack in DTS choose either the PAL R2 (Holland) 3 disc set DVD or PAL R2 (SCANDINAVIA) 2 Disc Set DVD but please note neither of these releases contain English subtitles.

Otherwise choose the NTSC R1, PAL R2 (FRANCE), PAL R2 (UK) depending on your language and subtitle needs, desired extras or budget.

In comparison with all of these releases the PAL R4 does hold up well. The final decision is based on what you desire.

Summary

“Let the world change you... and you can change the world"

Diarios de motocicleta is a film for the senses; it is affecting, disturbing, emotional and inspirational. Politics aside, Diarios de motocicleta will remind the audience of their own unique experiences and how we all discover our strengths and weakness' in trying times.

The DVD has been wonderfully produced but is limited in terms of extra feature content in comparison with some of the DVD releases overseas. The absence the 2004 documentray In viaggio con Che Guevara (Traveling with Che Guevara) is particularly disappointing. However the local DVD still remains a well produced effort with detailed interviews which reveal the production of the film and the dedication of all involved.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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Spanish subtitles? - REPLY POSTED
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