Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Diarios de Motocicleta"

"This isn't a tale of heroic feats. It's about two lives running parallel for a while with common aspirations and similar dreams."

And thus begins The Motorcycle Diaries, starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Rodrigo De la Serna as Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and Alberto Granado, respectively. I decided to re-watch this movie after seeing it a few years ago in the theater. Initially I went to see it because of the obvious likenesses to On the Road and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Yet again it didn't fail to make an impression on me after the second and subsequently third time watching it.

The movie opens with Ernesto, a medical student on the verge of graduating as he and biochemist friend Alberto plan a road trip taking the two around the continent of South America. The adventure is set up as an experiment: plans, equipment, methods, and goals are outlined beforehand as they pack up their belongings in Buenos Aires. Even though the plan for Ernesto and Alberto is to live like outlaws while 'the melancholy of what's left behind fades to the excitement that lies ahead', can they really prepare for the unexpected challenges of life on the road?

This is one of the major themes found in TMD, the metaphor of life as a road trip. You lose things. You get dirty. Curves, signs, forked roads, kindness/cruelty of strangers, they all figure into the quintessential experience of these travelers leaving the land of their birth and into the heart of their country. Of course themes of friendship, honesty, love, sex, death, and others are found in the movie, but they are all subtle--understated with purpose.

"All of Latin America is ahead, Buenos Aires behind..."
Along the way Ernesto or "Che" (or "Fuser" as his friend Alberto nicknamed him) meets people with different problems. Some are sick. Others are not welcome in their own country. It is after an encounter with a poor mining couple that we really begin to see the shift in Che's consciousness from a naive youth to the more idealistic man for which he will be known and ultimately judged.

This movie keeps Che's politics in the background. As mentioned before, there is an obvious change in his attitude, but the movie ultimately leaves it up to each person who watches it to decide exactly what kind of change this is.

Great acting. Great cinematography. Great music.


Monday, October 1, 2007

The Alcohol Chronicles: Oktoberfest

This weekend Bluewater Bay's rendition of Oktoberfest went down at Bitburger German Pub and in the adjoining supermarket parking lot.

Oktoberfest is the only kind of yearly gathering held here. It's basically BB's attempt at some kind of coherent festival though it pales in comparison to the Mullet Festival which I will no doubt be dragged, pulled, or pushed into a month from now. But more about that later...

As to be expected there was plenty of hearty German fare. It's a completely family-centered shin dig with bouncy slides, a rock climbing wall, and the like. There was no public nudity or bierleichen, which translates to "beer corpses", however I did observe one outlet for debauchery--Das Boot.

The Boot consists of a glass modeled after its namesake containing two liters of beer that upon ordering will cost you 75 bucks. That's for the deposit. If you can chug the whole thing without stopping it's free. Otherwise, it's twenty. You get the other $55 back after returning the glass unscratched, unscathed, unbroken. I'm under the impression that if you chug the whole thing and THEN vomit, it's still free though. Let me just go on the record to say I've never been party to the drinking of this mythical beast, but two weekends ago I did meet someone who had. Buh HUH HUH!!

Before leaving I walked by all the little tents and ran into a few old friends. Went to Schooner's with The Traveling Monkey and had a few Red Stripes. Drank. Shot the proverbial breeze. Made a new friend. Came home. Watched Finding Neverland. Highly recommend it. Two thumbs up.Went golfing that morning with Dad.