Even The Rain - Conquerors and Contemporary Corporations

                       Pure, clean water is one of the essentials for our existence. Even in our thirst, we often tend to forget about this precious gift. It is said that for more than one billion people around the world, to access clean water within a 15-minute walk of their homes, is only a dream. In the future, we might have battles for water resources, since the large corporations are keen in water privatization. So today, the weak or poor must be strong to survive, as their strength is endlessly tested by these giant resource grabbing corporates.

                         The Spanish movie, "Even The Rain" (2010), which talks about the exploitation of indigenous peoples, has an irresistible combination. It is a movie about the making of a movie - combined with a bit of a history and a political message. It is a powerful, richly layered film about the plight of Latin America's dispossessed that cunningly parallels the Spanish conquest of the Americas with the 20th-century spread of capitalism.

         A red helicopter is flown across the grey sky, with a massive, wooden cross. This is a striking image which sets the tone for this compelling movie-within-a-movie. A film-crew comes to Bolivia to make a biopic on "Columbus" and about early Spanish exploitation of the Indians. Right from the start, the producer (Luis Tosar) and the director, Sebastian (Gael Garcia Bernal) encounter trouble. The crew advertises for extras to play the natives that rose up against the Spanish explorers.

            Thousands turn up, and when the crowd is turned away, an angry young man Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri) protests and convinces the film-makers to see all the local people who have come for miles to audition for roles as extras in the film. Sebastian is impressed with Daniel's anger, passion and leadership quality, who gives him a plum role as Hatuey, a chief who led a rebellion against the Spanish. Just as Costa and his crew try to do the shooting, hostilities between Bolivian peasants and the government goes to the exploding level.

              Wells from which the Bolivians have drawn their water for centuries are abruptly sealed. Riots break out when the rates charged by the large water corporations prove ruinous. As things turns hectic,  Costa and Sebastian find themselves doing things they probably couldn't rationalize, actions that seem to contradict their very nature but actually define who they truly are.

                  Acting is the crucial part, since this movie is also a character study. The transformation of Gael García Bernal's Sebastian, as he sacrifices his liberal ideology to protect his precious art and Tosar's swift transformation from mercenary capitalist are convincing. They both handle well the opposite sides of conscience and conflict. Elejalde as Anton and as Columbus is riveting with his hard-drinking, shambolic and terminally cynical viewpoint. Juan Carlos' Daniel is the soul of the piece. He bestows upon a quiet strength tinged alternately with arrogance and disappointment. The confrontations between Costa and Daniel are the pic's moral heart, and they are superbly written and played. 

                  Director Iciar Bollain , who began her career as an actress, isn’t very subtle in making her connections between the film crew’s fantasy world and the harsh realities intruding on it but the details and workings of a movie production are all intimately done. Screenwriter Paul Laverty  has previously written Ken Loach’s politically themed films “The Wind That Shakes the Barley’’ and “Sweet Sixteen.’’ The script strains on occasion to keep all the segments credible and they overlap rather too conveniently. "Even The Rain" brings a grandeur and a force reminiscent of Terrence Malick films and is splendidly panoramic. The sequences where Columbus arrives and of his imperialist and religious sloganeering are graced by a lushly evocative natural setting, and the scenes about the chaotic water riots have a documentary immediacy.

                 If there is one flaw to be made or a criticism on "Even the Rain," it's that it force-feeds the audience on the notion of Daniel's nobility, when he's an often difficult man who is inconsiderate and foolish in his choices. At times, the movie succumbs to sentiment as the fictional filmmakers wrestle with crises of conscience that feel schematic.

                “Even the Rain,” is not a masterpiece, but it is a pretty good one — well-acted and always with an ear for its own social relevance. Like gold, diamond, oil and petrol colonialism, the water-rights thing is happening now all over the world. People are facing the privatization of all the world’s most precious resource, “Even the Rain.”


Even The Rain - IMDb 


vinay said...

Seems interesting. :)

varsha said...

Sounds like an interesting movie. I am going to try and watch it. Yes I wonder what we will do in a few years for water. The next generation will not have it easy

Arun Kumar said...

@vinay, Thanks for the comment and do watch the movie.

@varsha, Thanks for the comment. A very interesting based on its theme.