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On August 20, World Movies screens the premiere of three films about the early years of the infamous and iconic revolutionary Che Guevara. Other highlights include the powerful Brazilian prison drama, Carandiru and from Italy, The Cruellest Day, based on a true story about a journalist murdered in Mogadishu while investigating toxic waste dumping by Italian firms.

The Motorcycle Diaries trilogy begins with Walter Salles’ internationally acclaimed The Motorcycle Diaries, based on the true story of the travels of the young Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara before he became one of the world’s most famous revolutionaries. Supporting the award-winning feature film are two documentaries to add further insight.

Travelling With Che Guevara is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Motorcycle Diaries. Featuring the real-life friend of Che, 81 year old Alberto Grando, it looks back on their life-changing six-month journey around South America.

Following this is Tracing Che, a documentary that traces the footsteps of this revolutionary road trip taken by Che and Granado in 1952, encountering friends and family along the way, who shed light on the ‘real’ Che. More...

August 20, 8.30pm
THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES (2004) Argentina (in Spanish)

Directed by: Walter Salles
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo De La Serna
Starring Mexican heart-throb Gael García Bernal, the Oscar® award-winning film The Motorcycle Diaries is a highly inspiring and entertaining adventure based on the journals of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. In the early 1950s Che (Bernal) and his best friend Alberto Granado (Rodrigo De La Serna) set out on a road adventure to travel across South America by motorcycle, recording their journey in a diary. Along the way the two discover the trip of a life time, but their social conscious is awakened by the darker side of life; that of poverty, illness, oppression and abandonment. From his journey Che’s life mission is realised, he would rally for the sick and poor, a decision which would eventually alter his destiny dramatically.

August 20, 10:35pm
TRAVELLING WITH CHE GUEVARA (2004) Italy (in Spanish)

Directed by: Gianni Mina
Genre: Documentary
Nominated for Best Documentary at the David Di Donatello Awards, Travelling With Che Guevara is a behind the scenes look at the ‘making of’ Walter Salles’ highly inspiring adventure drama, The Motorcycle Diaries, which stars Gael García Bernal.
Eighty-one year-old Alberto Granado retraces the six-month journey around South America that he and best friend Che Guevara had taken in 1952. Granado confirms facts, tales and incidents about the journey acting as an on-set advisor to Walter Salles and actors Gael García Bernal and Rodrigo De La Serna.

August 21, 12:40am
TRACING CHE (2004) Argentina, Chile, Canada (in English, Spanish)

Directed by: Lawrence Elman
Genre: Documentary
Canadian director Lawrence Elman presents Tracing Che an insightful road documentary that traces Cuban revolutionist Che Guevara and best friend Alberto Granado’s ’s 1952 journey through South America; along the way Elman encounters Che’s friends and family who shed light on the ‘real’ Che.

August 1, 8.30pm
THE CRUELLEST DAY (2002) Italy (in Italian, Serbian and Croatian)

Directed by: Ferdinando Vincentini Orgnani
Starring: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Rade Serbedzija
Based on the true story of the 1994 murder of Italian RAI TV news reporter Ilaria Alpi and her cameraman Miran Hrovatin, the film charts the lead up to their assassination in the Somalian city of Mogadishu. Hiding behind a thread of humanitarian aid programmes to improve third world infrastructure, Alpi discovers Italian organisations are secretly dumping tonnes of toxic waste under newly built roads. Along the course of her investigation Alpi teams up with Hrovatin to uncover the shocking truth about one of the largest European scandals in history, a story that ultimately costs them their lives.

August 6, 8.30pm
UNCONSCIOUS (2004) Spain

Directed by: Joaquín Oristrell
Staring: Luis Tósar, Leonor Watling
Spanish screen legends Luis Tósar and Leonor Watling star in this beautifully shot and cleverly scripted farcical look at the early years of psychoanalysis in 1913 Barcelona. Alma (Watling), the daughter of a prominent neurosurgeon, feisty Freud enthusiast and mother-to-be has just been left unexpectedly by her psychiatrist husband León. Intent on understanding her husband’s motives, Alma confronts her conservative brother-in-law, Salvador (Tósar), who is also Leon’s best friend. Reluctant at first, Salvador eventually agrees to help Alma solve the mysterious disappearance of her husband, using a book of his past case studies as their starting point. Hilarious plot twists uncover a world of porno film shoots and transvestite parties; with León at the centre of the action.

August 8, 8.30pm
TURTLES CAN FLY (2004) Iraq/Iran (in Kurdish)

Directed by: Bahman Ghobadi
Starring: Soran Ebrahim, Avaz Latif, Hiresh Feysal Rahman
Another multi-award winning film from Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi (A Time For Drunken Horses), and the first film to come out of Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Set in a Kurdish refugee village near the border of Iran and Turkey, just before the U.S invasion on Iraq, local boy Satellite spends his days commissioning the local kids to gather un-detonated landmines to sell back to the army. Despite the tragedy about to unveil, thirteen year-old Satellite remains energetic and light-hearted. When Henkov, a landmine victim, arrives seeking refuge along with his sister Agrin and her blind three year-old son Risa, (who is the outcome of a traumatic gang rape), Satellite is quick to try and befriend the trio. Broken-spirited and emotionally damaged, the trio prove to be more of a prophecy for Satellite who can only envisage what atrocities are to come. Exceptional performances from a very young cast make for a touching film which surprisingly leaves audiences with an air of hope for a better future, despite the bleakness of war.

August 13, 8.30pm
WARRIORS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH (2003) Hong Kong / China (in Mandarin)

Directed by: He Ping
Starring: Nakai Kiichi, Jiang Wen
Set in and around the Gobi Desert in 8th Century China, Japanese swordsman Lai Xi (Nakai Kiichi) is commissioned by the Tang Emperor to hunt down and execute renegade soldier and ex-Lieutenant Li (Jiang Wen), with the promise that Lai may return to Japan if he successfully completes the mission. Along with four other soldiers, Li now guides (and guards) travelling caravans along the treacherous Silk Road. While transporting a Buddhist monk and his sacred and powerful artefact to the capital, Li falls prey to the local mafia thugs. Lai close on Li’s tail comes to the rescue to fight off the barbaric bandits, and the two make a mutual pact to fight to the death once they safely deliver the caravan to the capital. A visually stunning, earthy epic from the award-winning writer-director He Ping (Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker).

August 15, 8.30pm
CARANDIRU (2003) Brazil (in Portuguese)

Directed by: Hector Babenco
Starring: Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos, Milton Gonçalves
Oscar®-nominated director Hector Babenco’s Carandiru is a raw and harrowing adaptation of Dr. Drauzio Varella’s best-seller “Carandiru Station” about the notorious Carandiru prison in São Paulo. Based on the events leading up to the 1992 riots in which one hundred and eleven prisoners were shot down and killed by prison guards, the story is told through the eyes of ‘Doctor’. With no prior medical facilities inside Carandiru, ‘Doctor’ is eager to begin his AIDS-prevention programme in the overcrowded prison. With time he begins to earn the respect of the inmates, who openly divulge their secrets and hellish stories of drug deals, rape and murder which are all daily threats. Despite the gritty, challenging subject matter of the film Babenco manages to weave a series of humorous, lighter subplots into the story providing a slight sense of reprieve for viewers.

August 27, 8.30pm

Directed by: François Dupeyron
Starring: Omar Sharif, Pierre Boulanger
Set in 1960s Paris and based on a best-selling autobiographical novel, Monsieur Ibrahim And The Flowers Of The Koran is a warm and affectionate story about friendship and acceptance. Veteran actor Omar Sharif stars in this delightful relationship drama that earned him a Golden Globe nomination and César for Best Actor. Abandoned by his mother as a baby, thirteen year-old Jewish boy Momo (Pierre Boulanger) lives with his bitter, unloving father who is still haunted by the memory of his wife. Starved for affection Momo scrapes together all his savings to visit the local hookers that line the streets near his house. Having little or no money left after his sexual awakenings, Momo steals from the local Turkish mini-mart run by Muslim shopkeeper Monsieur Ibrahim (Omar Sharif). The two eventually befriend each other and Monsieur Ibrahim provides Momo with the support and guidance he is lacking, sharing the teachings from his beloved Koran and finally setting out on a pilgrimage back to Turkey.

Published July 27, 2006

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The Motorcycle Diaries

July Highlights


Warriors of Heaven and Earth


Turtles Can Fly

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