Wednesday, May 04, 2005

motorcycle diaries at film church

Tonite we’re watching Motorcycle Diaries at Gospel and film class . (Plot summary here.)

Since one of the aims of the course is to identify ways in which film may be utilised as a point of engagement for the gospel within contemporary society, and since the assessment includes a piece of work on how a Christian church could use and interact with the medium of film in communicating the Christian message, I’ve put together the following questions for a “popcorn” discussion.

[9 Q’s on Motorcyle Diaries for Film Church]

1. The trip through Central America occurred in 1952. How old where you at this time? What do you know of the events of this period of time?

2. What was the main theme in this film? What did you take away from it?

3. What was the most powerful scene in the film for you?

4. Consider the genre of road trip movies. They are a common movie theme; Thelma and Louise, Bonnie and Clyde, Mulholland Drive, Kings of the Road etc. How does “road trip” genre help you read this movie?

5. “Accented cinema” is defined by Hamid Naficy as follows; If the dominant cinema is considered universal and without accent, the films that diasporic and exilic subjects make are accented. […] [T]he accent emanates not so much from the accented speech of the … characters as from the displacement of the filmmakers. What strikes you as you listen to the “accented” cinema that is Motorcycle Diaries?

6. Theologically, this movie sheds some interesting light on the theme of the Incarnation. Luke’s gospel is shaped by the “travel narrative”, for in Luke 9:51, Jesus “sets his face toward Jerusalem,” yet it takes until Luke 19 for Jesus to get there. In Philippians 2:5-11, we see a “kenotic” Christology, in which Christ empties himself, becomes poor and humble. In the movie, Ernesto’s swim across the river on his birthday, can be seen as a “kenotic” movement, to cross the gap, choosing to live amongst the poor and marginalised. What strikes you about the Incarnation of Christ as you watch the movie?

7. This is a movie about the transformation of two young idealistic men. Describe the evolution in the two main character’s from beginning to end. How did they change? What of yourself can you see through these characters?

8. Has an engagement with people’s real life ever changed your perspectives on life?

9. Like the movie, many of us have experienced a “loss of innocence”, a time when we faced the reality of human suffering and injustice. How has watching this film opened your eyes? How has it changed you?

Note 1: thanks to brian for the initial spark.

Note 2: Anyone at Opawa want to actually help me kick this off in real-time, ie monthly film and discussion?

Posted by steve at 03:58 PM


  1. This is a great film, if you can grab the book “the motorcycle diaries” it has some more great photos from that time, very much like the credits at the end.

    There’s also talk of another movie that will explore Che’s live post-trip and how he became the revolutionary/terrorist that he did.

    I was deeply touched by this film, the scene where the travellers were asked “why are you travelling?” and they respond “we journey for the sake of journeying” (or something like that) was deeply inspirational.

    And it’s interesting the Jesus/Che likeness, however they both took remarkably different paths. Che in the movie says “a revolution without guns would not work.” while Jesus almost says “a revolution with guns is not a revolution.”

    Makes interesting conversation abotu the concept of a just war…

    Great movie all out though…

    Comment by darren — May 4, 2005 @ 4:56 pm

  2. I liked this article post-watching the movie

    particularly this quote…

    “Ché’s legacy is one of honesty and integrity, of matching one’s life with one’s ideas,” said Carlos M. Vilas, a history professor at the Universidad Nacional de Lanús in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “He risked his life in order to advance his project of revolutionary change. His ideas can be discussed or criticized, but not his sincerity or the depth of his commitment to them.”

    the movie tore me because I fell for the idealism of this young man who ended up doing some rather cruel stuff…

    Comment by darren — May 4, 2005 @ 5:49 pm

  3. we did a 20/30s film festival – i led the night we showed MD – here were my ?s:

    Many scenes in this movie are openly and evenly harshly critical of organized religion. What does it mean to draw spiritual meaning out of an explicitly non-religious, or even anti-religious movie? How do we do it responsible?
    This is a movie about a journey. What is the importance of the journey in this movie? What things do we learn along the way? What journey are you walking now?
    This is a movie about friendship. What is the importance of Che’s friend in the movie? Who are your friends that walk with you? What do they teach you?
    This movie is unusual in that it focuses on a moment in Che’s life before he became an internationally known revolutionary. This is a movie about beginnings and the planting of seeds. What seeds are being planted in your life? What fruit might they yield?

    Comment by bob — May 5, 2005 @ 8:50 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.