Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Even the Rain"

After seeing the Oscar best picture nominees, attending two film festivals and numerous foreign films and indies at the Loft Cinema, I have to say that the Spanish epic, “Even the Rain” is my favorite film of the year. I enjoyed it so much that I stayed for a second screening.

Even the Rain,” is the story of a Spanish film crew making a revisionist epic about the conquest of Latin America on location in Bolivia. At an over-crowded casting call, the visionary director (Gael Garcia Bernal) is impressed by the intensity of an outspoken local called Daniel (Carlos Aduviri). He casts him in a principle role as a 16th century native against the wishes of his frugal producer (Luis Tosar) who sees Daniel as a troublemaker. Daniel ends up endangering himself and the entire production as he leads the protest against his communities deprivation of water by multi-national corporations. This film within a film explores how the effects of Spanish Imperialists oppression of the indigenous people still resonates 500 years later. Ironically, the locals hired as extras are exploited to work on set construction for a mere $2 a day. The native actors seem to channel the souls of their ancestors as they act in scenes of their abuse. With soulful eyes, they watch the past history of their still present oppression.

Director Iciar Bollain
As a filmmaker, I found watching the production process in the story inspiring - particularly the cast and director's fierce dedication to their authentic vision. The story seems to parallel the real life director Iciar Bollain's dedication to the authentic look and historical accuracy of the film. I can't praise Paul Laverty's dynamic, eloquent writing enough. His script is a powerfully balanced blend of past and present, irony and building conflict. The writer has gone to great care to research the the details of the Bolivian water protests of 2000 and the Spanish conquest of the New World – concentrating on the protests of the 16th century priests, Fathers Barolone de las Casas and Antonio Montesinos, who spoke out against the oppression of the indigenous people and the tragic affect on them.

Just watching the trailer made me long to see, “Even the Rain.” But the film itself inspires in its depth and authenticity. See this lush, beautiful epic on the big screen if you can.

Movie blessings!
Jana Segal