The modern fan of the moving image, lives in a remarkable age as thanks to the advents of DVD, Blu-Ray and on demand we get to soak up a variety of films from all across the globe that may not have had the widest or any exposure at the theatrical level here in North America. Available this week on DVD from our friends at eOne Films, is an award winning festival darling that is set during the filming of a revisionist telling of Columbus’ conquest of the Americas as real life events are going on off the set that test the resolve and personal belief systems of everyone involved. It’s time for “Even the Rain”.
Starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Luis Tosar
Directed by Iciar Bollain
In “Even the Rain” we meet idealistic filmmaker Sebastian (Bernal) and his cynical producer Costa (Tosar) arrive in Bolivia to make a revisionist film about Christopher Columbus’ conquest of the Americas. However as filming commences, the local citizens begin to riot in protest against a multi-national corporation that is taking control of their water supply. With the film shoot in jeopardy, both men find their convictions shaken. Inspired by the real-life Water Wars in Bolivia in the year 2000 this film explores the lasting effects of Spanish imperialism, still resonating some 500 years later in the continued struggle of indigenous people against oppression and exploitation.
At its heart “Even the Rain” is actually a very clever film, as it starts from a place that while historically important and significant can admittedly be a little dull as stories of this nature have been done before but it managed to infuse the proceedings with enough heart to make this much more of a political statement wrapped up in a character study rather than the other way. Bollain crafted a lush cinematic landscape that makes the heartbreak of the natives fighting for their natural resources all the more effective as it parallels beautifully with the gorgeous countryside that they are shooting the film on moving seamlessly between the action in real life and the action that they are recreating on screen. While the actual narrative of the film does admittedly get a little preachy at times, it works because rather the lean entirely on the issues that surround them, the film focuses more on how these events emotionally impact our characters. With two very strong lead performances in this film, we slowly get wrapped up in the real world consequences of what is happening before our eyes.
While playing two very different characters both Gael Garcia Bernal and Luis Tosar both manage to take their characters on a evolutionary journey as they not only care about the importance of telling the story that they’ve set out to tell, but also the one the is unfolding in front of their eyes and how it affects the natives that they’ve come to interact with on a daily basis. It’s hard for anyone not to get swept up into the human drama as these men who’ve come to this tumultuous land to tell a story become characters in the story that they didn’t even know they were involved in. Both Bernal and Tosar wear their hearts on their sleeves as their ultimate motivations and their core beliefs are stripped bare for all to see and it made for two great performances that played off each other very well.
“Even the Rain” isn’t the kind of film that will hit you over the head with a message, but as it peels back its layers you get something much more than a simple political statement, you get an emotional one at an entire indigenous population and how the ramifications of something that took place over 500 years ago can still ring very true even today.
4 out of 5 stars.
“Even the Rain” is now available for rent at video stores all across Canada; you can also find it for purchase at all major retailers like HMV or amazon.ca.
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