Che's birthday marked by film opening in Havana

Campaign News | Tuesday, 15 June 2004

Motorcycle Diaries gets gala screening

HAVANA June 14 - "The Motorcycle Diaries," a portrait of Ernesto "Che" Guevara as a young romantic, opened in Cuba on Monday as the director and several of the film's actors marked what would have been the late revolutionary's 76th birthday.

"There is no other place I want to be than here," Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, who played the role of Guevara, told a Havana news conference on Monday.

The movie's first general screenings in Cuba were starting Monday night in the central city of Santa Clara, where Guevara's remains were brought in 1997 - 30 years after he was killed in Bolivia.

Guevara and his troops seized control of Santa Clara during the Cuban revolution that pushed former dictator Fulgencio Batista from power in 1959.

The film, produced by Robert Redford and directed by Walter Salles, traces Guevara's early adventures when he and his friend Alberto Granados traversed South America on a motorcycle in 1952.

Relatives of Guevara and Granados attended Monday's news conference.

"The presentation of the film pays homage to the life of a man who taught us a lot about tenderness," said Aleida Guevara March, Guevara's daughter.

Gael Garcia Bernal Honored with Che Guevara?s Film Premiere in Cuba

Havana, Jun 14 (Prensa Latina) "I feel honored for attending the premiere in Cuba of the film The Motorcycle Diaries," Mexican film star Gael Garcia Bernal stated to Prensa Latina Monday.

Minutes before attending a press conference in the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, the star of the film based on the Argentinean-Cuban guerrilla Che Guevara stated that "playing Ernesto (Guevara) is a great responsibility, since it is a figure that exudes justice."

"I studied his writings, the books he read and played the character from his spirituality," Garcia Bernal stated.

As a favorable factor, he mentioned his youth: "I am 23 years, a similar age to that of Ernesto when he started his motorcycle road trips."

The also star of Almodovar?s La Mala Educación and Alfonso Cuaron?s Y Tu Mamá También stated that from the cinematographic point of view, he liked to work in the project. "Playing Guevara meant a different character in my career."

Concerning his relation with Cuba, he stated he always loved Cuba from from a distance: "Ernesto (Guevara) loved this country, and I always admired it for being in the vanguard in arts."

On a possible foray into Harry Potter films, he joked: "I would do it, every time I have the chance to sneak in a scene such as that of the pool in Y tu Mamá También."

Gael Garcia Bernal looked fresh and relaxed all the time and celebrated the victory of his favorite soccer team (Pumas) in the Mexican league.

A film lover, the star on Obsesión stated it "is an art that allows everything: travel, coming to Cuba and dreaming."

"Yesterday, I dreamt Alberto Granados (Che"s friend, now in his eighties) and I were in Cannes red carpet, and then, all of a sudden, the scene changed and we were in the tunnel of a soccer stadium, went up to the stands and shouted like crazy."

He has not been shooting anything for 10 months, and concerning the situation of the film industry in Mexico, he stated: "it is difficult to be a producer, since you only get a 16 percent share."

Plans? "Enjoying these days in Cuba, visiting historic places and touching and seeing the things Ernesto (Guevara) touched and saw."{F074EDDC-4342-45B9-A6B4-EF76C38D5AD7}&language=EN

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