Review by Vinoo
Language : Spanish, Quechua English
Director : Iciar Bollain
‘The Spainish conquered the New World for Gold. 500 years later, Water is gold. Not much else has changed.’
A crew is filming Columbus’ first voyage to the New World. Christianity is being imposed and the local Indians are being subjugated and stripped of their natural wealth, gold. The Director, Sebastien (Gael Garcia Bernal), wants to focus on the priests, Bartolome de las Casas (Carlos Santos) and Antonio de Montesinos (Raul Arevalo), who protest the treatment of Indians. In real life the Cochabambas (Quechua-speaking natives of Bolivia who belong to the Andes mountain range. Qucha = lake, pampa = open plain.) are fighting their own war for a different natural resource, water. Set five hundred years apart the situation is not much different.
The Producer, Costa (a brilliant Luis Tosar), chooses Bolivia as the location for the shoot so the local population is available as cheap labour, ‘just two dollars a day’. The problem begins when the leader of the Indians in the film, Hatuey / Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri), also happens to be the leader of the Cochabambas in real life and he is leading their protest against privatization of water by the multinationals. Now the onus is on the producer to make sure his crew is protected. More importantly, he has to make sure Daniel is protected because he is key to completion of the film. The Director gives an initial glimpse of being a man of principles and wanting to stick to his script and of course empathizing with the plight of the Indians. But then, in real life his film means more to him and he will go to any lengths. He wants the film completed at any cost and even gets the producer to bribe Daniel. In the most striking scene in the film, Daniel is brought out of prison so the crew can shoot the very important scene on the ‘Cross’. The police come in immediately after to arrest Daniel when the entire Cochabambas fight them back. Costa is caught in the dilemma and comes through as a human who empathizes with the cause and makes a transition when Daniel’s daughter Belen (Milena Soliz) is injured and his wife comes seeking help. Costa puts his life at stake to help rescue her. The film is obviously stalled as the crew leaves with the protests becoming violent, but the multinationals beat a retreat and the Indians win their war for their rights, and for water.
The film captures very well a film-maker’s dilemma. Everyone wants to change the world. Few people want to change themselves. Indeed.
Karra Elejalde as Columbus is intense and very convincing. Cassandra Ciangheroti as Maria the crew-member who wants to document the events as it unfolds also puts in a good performance. Music is by Alberto Iglesias (‘Talk to her’, ‘Volver’, ‘Sex and Lucia’, ‘Commandante’, ‘The Constant Gardener’, Soderbergh’s ‘Che’ etc) and Cinematography by Alex Catalan and editing by Angel Henrandez Zoido who has edited ‘Take my eyes’, ‘The revolution will not be televised’ etc. Here is a link to the trailer to ‘Even The Rain’
The scene where a ‘cross’ is being transported by helicopter reminds me of the Christ scene from ‘La Dolce Vita’.
The writer, Paul Laverty, has also written the screenplay for ‘Route Irish’, ‘Looking for Eric’, ‘Wind that shakes the barley’, ‘It’s a free world’, ‘Tickets’, ‘Sweet Sixteen’, ‘Bread and Roses’ (all for Ken Loach) and a few others. The script is perfect. Iciar Bollain, the Director, has scripted and directed 10 films. She has also acted in 31 films. Hope to watch her scripted and directed ‘Take My Eyes’ which also stars Luis Tosar.
Also watched ‘Adaminte magan Abu / Adam’s son, Abu’. Salim Kumar is brilliant. People have won the best actor award for much less. It is a good departure from routine where the award is mostly conferred on stars, most often undeservedly. You decide from the list.
Thoroughly deserved this Best Actor Award and the film is definitely worth a watch. DVDs are available at www.maebag.com
Useless trivia : The Cochabamba protest for water is from real life incidents from 2000. The title derives from ‘They sell off our lives and even the rain that falls on our head’.
The film is dedicated to noted American historian, academic, author, playwright and social activist Howard Zinn. His memoir, ‘You can’t be neutral on a moving train’ was made into a documentary about him.
‘Tambien la lluvia / Even the rain’ was Spain’s official entry to the 83rd Academy Awards.