Even The Rain - DVD Review
Review by Louise Carleton
ON PAPER, Even The Rain has the potential to get confusing with Spanish director Icíar Bollaín weaving three different plotlines simultaneously.
Potentially, a narrative of such magnitude would struggle but with her expert direction, an engaging screenplay (from the fantastic Paul Laverty) and some extremely talented actors, the end result is phenomenal.
The three plotlines revolve around film producer Costa (Luis Tosar) and director Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) who embark on a mission to film an epic about one of history’s most iconic figures; Christopher Columbus.
The idealistic Sebastián wants to show the man as a tyrant, one who enslaved the Indians and wiped out their way of life. But Sebastián’s friend and producer, Costas, has only one care – shooting the film on the lowest possible budget, hence his reason for shooting in the poverty-stricken area of Cochabamba, Bolivia, also the most ‘Indian’ part of Latin America and where Costa can employ the locals as extras for almost next to nothing.
It is during the filming process, however, that the country’s water supply is privatised and sold to a British company, throwing the country into uproar as the nation revolts.
Mounting violence and unrest gathers momentum until what follows is the infamous Bolivian water war (a true event that took place in 2000).
Costa and Sebastián find their star, a local idealistic Indian named Daniel, is a key figure in the protests and thus they are forced to take notice of what is happening around them.
What expertly plays out is history repeating itself as the poor, down-trodden locals fight for their right to water in the same way that their ancestors fought for the right to live centuries earlier.
The storylines of Costa and Sebastián weave fluidly with the events of the water war while the story of Christopher Columbus binds the action together nicely, providing a historical complement to the current action.
Ironically, it transpires that the only one who is genuinely sensitive to the plight of the Bolivians and aware of Costa’s and Sebastián’s hypocrisy is the magnificent, yet alcoholic, actor playing Christopher Columbus (Karra Elejalde).
Further to the impressive narrative, Bollaín relies on smaller techniques to hit her point home. As the violence descends into all-out chaos, we see Costa (who originally saw the Indian actors as nothing more than a cheap commodity he could pay $2 a day) realise the severity of the situation and how insensitive he has been, something which is drawn out subtly through his interactions with Daniel.
The exchange of glances and knowing looks make for poignant viewing against the background action as Costa’s personal transformation takes place before us.
The film is both absorbing and entertaining and effortlessly draws the audience into the wider issues of politics and the injustices so important to the plot.
Indeed, some of the most moving performances come from the non-professional Indian extras. It’s a fantastic film that raises valid questions but with a thoroughly enjoyable plot-line to match.
Even The Rain is undoubtedly an authentic film as well as a touching must-see.
(In Spanish, Quechua & English)
Running time: 103mins
UK DVD Release: August 13, 2012