Travel journals

Carnets de voyage ( Diarios de motocicleta ) is a Brazilian, Chilean, American, Peruvian and Argentinian film by Brazilian director Walter Salles , released in 2004 . The script is based on the books of Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Alberto Granado that tell the story of the journey through South America that the two men made in 1952 . Over the course of meetings and social injustices and misery he witnessed, the trip will radically transform the young Che Guevara. The film has been favorably received by the public and critics and has won numerous awards, includingOscar for best original song and two BAFTA Awards .


On January 4, 1952 , Alberto Granado, a biochemist of almost 30 years, and Ernesto Guevara , 23 years old and soon a medical graduate, leave Buenos Aires for a long trek through South America to cross Argentina. , Chile , Peru , Colombia and reach Caracas in 4 and a half months, in time for Granado’s birthday. They are equipped for this purpose with an old motorcycle ( Norton 500 cm 3 ) dating from 1939, nicknamed “La Vigoureuse” ( La Poderosa in Spanish).

Their circuit includes stops in Argentina: Miramar , San Martín de los Andes , Lake Frías , Lake Nahuel Huapi ; in Chile: Temuco , Los Angeles , Valparaíso , Atacama Desert , Chuquicamata ; in Peru: Cuzco , Machu Picchu , Lima , the leper colony of San Pablo; in Colombia: Leticia ; in Venezuela : Caracas.

At the beginning of their journey, the duo stops a few days in Miramar where Ernesto finds Chichina, his girlfriend. Their tent flies away as they try to install it in Piedra del Aguila , while they are 1,800 km from Buenos Aires. They pass through Bariloche and arrive at Frias Lake on February 15th. The bike begins to have serious mechanical problems during the passage of the Andes . After Temuco, in Chile, they must flee a popular dance while they are pursued by the husband of a young woman whom Guevara wanted to seduce. A little after Los Angeles , the bike becomes unusable and they are forced to continue on foot and hitchhiking.

In Valparaíso, where they arrive on March 7th, Ernesto learns from a letter of Chichina that this one breaks with him. Crossing the Atacama Desert, the two friends meet an Indian couple driven from their homes and forced to take the road because of their communist beliefs. The two young people confess to them with a little shame that they travel for their sake only for the pleasure of traveling. They accompany them to Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile, operated by Anaconda , where Ernesto discovers angrily the harsh treatment of minors.

They then arrive in Cuzco , Peru, and meet Indians who have been driven from their land. They also discover the splendor of Machu Picchu, which leads Ernesto to wonder how a civilization capable of building a site of such beauty could be destroyed to give way to dirty and polluted cities such as Lima. The injustices they witness transform a simple adventure into an awakening of their social spirit. They meet in Lima on r Pesce that collects home before sending them to the leprosarium of San Pablo, near Iquitos , where they have to work as volunteers for three weeks.

They are greeted at the leprosarium by r Bresciani and Ernesto can observe the metaphorical division of the South American company with the medical team living on the banks of the Amazon while the most seriously ill patients living on the other . Ernesto has close ties with several patients. Just before their departure, an evening is given for the birthday of Ernesto who makes his first political speech on the occasion of a toast. Later, he swims across the Amazon, despite his asthmain order to spend the rest of the night with the sick. The duo then leaves for Caracas and arrives there after a trip that will have lasted almost 9 months. As they say goodbye, Granado confesses to Ernesto lying about the supposed date of his birthday, which was just a pretext supposed to serve as motivation, and Ernesto replies that he knew it from the beginning …

Technical sheet

  • Title: Travel Books
  • Original title: Motocicleta Diarios
  • Director: Walter Salles
  • Script: José Rivera from the books travel by motorcycle , of Che Guevara , and on the road with Che Guevara , with Alberto Granado
  • Sets: Carlos Conti
  • Costumes: Beatriz de Benedetto and Marisa Urruti
  • Photography: Éric Gautier
  • Editing: Daniel Rezende
  • Music: Gustavo Santaolalla
  • Production: Michael Nozik, Edgard Tenenbaum and Karen Tenkhoff
  • Production Companies: Film4 Productions , BD Cine
  • Distribution companies: Buena Vista International (Argentina), Focus Features (United States), Diaphana Films (France), Pathé Distribution (United Kingdom)
  • Country of origin: Argentina
  • Original languages: Spanish , Quechua , Mapudungun
  • Formats: Color – 1.85: 1 – Dolby Digital sound – 35 mm
  • Genre: Road movie , Drama
  • Duration: 126 minutes
  • Release dates:
    • Sundance Film Festival :
    •  Brazil :
    •  Argentina :
    •  France , Belgium , French-speaking Switzerland :  
    •  Canada :


  • Gael García Bernal : Ernesto Guevara
  • Rodrigo de la Serna : Alberto Granado
  • Mia Maestro : Chichina Ferreyra
  • Jorge Chiarella: r Bresciani
  • Gustavo Bueno Dr. Hugo Pesce
  • Mercedes Morán : Celia of the Serna
  • Jean Pierre Noher  (en) : Ernesto Guevara Lynch
  • Facundo Espinosa  (en) : Tomas Granado
  • Jaime Azócar: the director of the mine


In order to better immerse herself in her role, Gael García Bernal prepared for six months reading Che Guevara’s biographies , traveling to Cuba to discuss with her family and with Alberto Granado 1 . He also adopts the Argentine accent and reads the works of José Martí , Karl Marx and Pablo Neruda (Che’s favorite poet). Bernal comments on this intensive preparation: “I feel invested with great responsibility. I want to play my part at best because of what Che Guevara represents around the world. He was a romantic who had a political conscience that changed Latin America ” 2.

Filming takes place throughout South America , Argentina ( Buenos Aires , Miramar , San Martin de los Andes and Lake Nahuel Huapi ), Chile ( Temuco , Los Ángeles , Valparaíso , Chuquicamata and Atacama Desert ), in Peru ( Cusco , Machu Picchu , Lima , San Pablo leprosarium ), as well as in Leticia , Colombia , and Caracas, in Venezuela .


The film is presented for the first time to the public on at the Sundance Film Festival , where he receives a standing ovation 3 . He won a major commercial success for a South American film, relating 57,663,224 $ at the box office worldwide (including 16,781,387 $ to US and Canada ) 4 . It makes 797,913 admissions in France , 171,020 in Belgium , 129,304 in Switzerland and 93,929 in Quebec 5 .

World Box Office by Country of the Movie Travel Notebooks (Set Descending Direction)
Country Box Office Country Box Office Country Box Office
 United States 16,781,387  Spain 1,807,447 $  Denmark $ 418,818
 Italy 5,106,046  Swiss 1,431,783  Austria $ 355,043
 UK 4,914,286  Belgium 1,289,018  Portugal $ 349,930
 la France 4,400,638  New Zealand $ 739,114  South Korea $ 207,899
 Germany 3,441,697  Netherlands $ 622,100  Turkey $ 188,915
 Mexico 2,914,488  Norway $ 533,433  Chile $ 180,251
 Brazil 2,697,043  Greece $ 491,500  Taiwan $ 166,606
 Australia 2,639,811  Argentina $ 471,133  Sweden $ 135,979

It has been well received by critics, garnering 84% positive reviews, with an average score of 7.5 / 10 and based on 154 reviews collected, on the Rotten Tomatoes website 6 . He scores 75/100, based on 37 reviews, on Metacritic 7 .

In France , he obtains an average score of 3.9 / 5 on the AlloCiné 8 press review . The Figaroscope evokes “a beautiful humanist work, simple and generous” ; The World an “initiatory and picaresque ride” “moving from comic sequences to premonitory moments as we find in the biographies of great men” ; Positive a “wonderful learning story” coupled with a “homage to the South American continent” ; Télérama a “mesmerizing road movie” and “a luminous odyssey” ;L’Humanité a “rather successful” film with actors “winning the conviction” ; and Libération a work “that often vibrates” but where “lacks the spark that would set fire to the expected mythology” . First is more shared, regretting that the subject takes “its true dimension, spiritual and human, only in the last third of the story” ; while Les Cahiers du Cinéma and Les Inrockuptibles deliver negative reviews, evoking respectively a film purified “of any trace of politics” and a “story stitched with white thread”to “any staging” 8 .


Unless otherwise stated, this list comes from information on the Internet Movie Database 9 .


  • 2004 Cannes Film Festival (official selection):
    • Price François Chalais .
    • Ecumenical Jury Prize.
    • Eric Gautier (director of photography) obtains the Vulcan Award from the technician artist for his work on the film and on Clean (also in competition).
  • San Sebastián Festival – Audience Award 2004.
  • Public Prize at the 2004 Norwegian International Film Festival .
  • Oscar for the best original song for Al otro lado del río by Jorge Drexler in 2005.
  • BAFTA Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Film Music in 2005.
  • Goya Award for Best Adaptation in 2005.
  • Independent Spirit Awards for the best photography and the best male revelation ( Rodrigo de la Serna ) in 2005.
  • ACE Award for Best Actor ( Gael García Bernal ), Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Rodrigo de la Serna) in 2005.


  • European Film Award for Best Non-European Film in 2004
  • Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2005
  • Golden Globe for best foreign film in 2005
  • BAFTA Awards for Best Picture , Best Adapted Screenplay , Best Actor ( Gael Garcia Bernal ), Best Supporting Actor ( Rodrigo de la Serna ) and Best Picture in 2005.
  • Caesar of the best foreign film in 2005.
  • Satellite Awards for best foreign film and best actor (Gael Garcia Bernal) in 2005.
  • Critics Choice Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2005
  • Independent Spirit Award for Best Director in 2005.
  • Chlotrudis Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2005.
  • ACE Award for Best Picture in 2005

Notes and references

  1. ↑ (in) Richard Sharp, ” New Latin revolution ”  [ archive ] , on (accessed 16 April 2011 )
  2. ↑ (in) Lawrence Osborne, ” Che Trippers ”  [ archive ] , The New York Observer (accessed 16 April 2011 )
  3. ↑ (in) Roger Friedman, ” Sundance Flips for Che Guevara ”  [ archive ] , on (accessed April 16, 2011 )
  4. ↑ (in) The Motorcycle Diaries ”  [ archive ] , Box Office Mojo (accessed April 16, 2011 )
  5. ↑ ” Travel Notebooks ”  [ archive ] , Light database (accessed April 16, 2011 )
  6. ↑ (in) The Motorcycle Diaries ”  [ archive ] , Rotten Tomatoes
  7. ↑ (in) The Motorcycle Diaries ”  [ archive ] , Metacritic
  8. ↑ a and b « Travel Notebooks – Press Reviews »  [ archive ] , AlloCiné (accessed April 16, 2011 )
  9. ↑ ” (in) Awards for Travel Notebooks ”  [ archive ] , Internet Movie Database

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