This is a bad place we are in, you and I, make no mistake; the world darkens on a daily basis and it seems only a matter of time before the stars themselves go out. Most movies I see take perverse delight in screaming into the void, but while Even The Rain screams, it also attempts to make the void that much smaller.
The film, Spain’s official submission in the Best Foreign Language category for the Oscars, stars Gael García Bernal and Luis Tosar as filmmakers working on a revisionist drama about Columbus’ arrival in the New World. They have chosen Cochabamba, Bolivia for location shooting, but arrive during the water crisis of 2000, which pitted ordinary citizens against the government and large corporations determined to control and profit from Bolivia’s scarce water resources.
The film-within-a-film draws comparisons between the filmmakers exploiting local extras, the Bolivian government exploiting its citizens (‘Let them drink champagne!’) and Columbus exploiting the natives in 1492, all for the same reason: tight budgets trump human rights.
As the filmmakers find themselves caught in the middle of the civil war that threatens their production, they struggle to follow their moral compass when large amounts of money are at stake.
At the heart of Even The Rain is the lack of clear answers for the filmmakers, the Bolivian government and the 1492 Spanish conquistadors when faced with sink or swim decisions. The scene in which Luis Tosar (as producer Costa) must decide whether to flee with the crew or aid in the search of an injured young girl is particularly gut-wrenching.
Director Bollain (an acclaimed actress turned director) paces this tightly woven narrative with a strong tension that’s felt throughout, and the ‘money talks’ motifs are subtle without being obscure. This is a harrowing document of all-too-recent history.
– Christine Estima, Exclaim!