The Motorcycle Diaries, which world-premiered to a standing ovation at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, follows an inspiring journey of self-discovery and traces the youthful origins of a revolutionary heart. The rich and complex human and social topography of the Latin American continent is unveiled in all its glory as two friends experience life at its fullest. The film, directed by Walter Salles (Central Station, Behind the Sun), is adapted by José Rivera from the journals of two real-life young Argentines, Alberto Granado and Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, the latter of whom would become "El Che."
In January 1952, Ernesto (played by Gael GarcÃa Bernal) is a 23-year-old medical student specializing in leprology. Alberto (Rodrigo de la Serna), age 29, is a biochemist. The two men bid goodbye to their families and to Ernesto's girlfriend Chichina Ferreyra (Mía Maestro). Flushed with a romantic sense of adventure, they pile onto Alberto's 1939 Norton 500 motorcycle (nicknamed "La Poderosa" ["The Mighty One"]). The aging bike carries them farther and farther away from familiar and comfortable Buenos Aires surroundings, to surprising and exciting destinations. The two friends become as close as brothers.
Over the course of eight months and 8,000 miles, what starts out as a lark becomes a profound journey of discovery, not only of themselves but of a continent filled with infinite sorrow, and infinite hope. From homeless miners to riverboat prostitutes, from lepers to prosperous gentry, Ernesto and Alberto discover an affinity for humanity within themselves, and a determination to change the world.