Sunday, October 9, 2011


10th Spanish Film Festival
Cinema 1, Greenbelt 3

"Even the Rain" focuses on a film crew making a revisionist movie about the conquest of Latin America by Christopher Columbus. They are in Cochabamba, Bolivia for the location shoot when the 2000 Water Crisis revolts happen. The natives are fighting against a multinational corporation that threatens to cut off their water supply. Eventually it boils down to which is more important, the film they are shooting or the real world events that is threatening not only the film production but the existence of the natives.

The film drifts back and forth between the on camera reenactments of Columbus' forays and the Bolivian government's move to wrest water rights from its citizens and to stifle rebellion. But by grounding the story in the personal - through the main character's conflicted agendas, sympathizing with the protesters and yet wanting desperately to get their movie made, this provocative film strikes a deep and resonant chord.

The heart of the film is an Indian native named Daniel who is chosen among the many extras to play a chieftain who resisted the Europeans and was executed as a result.
It turns out that Daniel is an activist and he has become a leader in the numerous protests against the government’s policy of privatizing the water supply. A move which will raise the cost of living of the already-impoverished locals.

His participation in the demonstrations endangers the filmmakers’ ability to complete their project before anarchy breaks out. They are also torn between their own professional interests and larger considerations of right and wrong.

The juxtaposition of the exploitation of indigenous peoples half a millennium ago and that going on in the same areas today, from equally greedy motives, is well projected throughout the entire film. The directorial approach brings a gritty mood to the proceedings, and the sense of authenticity is enhanced by the use of actual footage of the street demonstrations.

The film tends to be a bit dragging but it is well-acted and has a valid social relevance theme. That social imperialism continues to thrive in the world. And that making movies pales in comparison and importance when people are facing a crisis of mega proportions - the loss of world’s most precious resource - Water - from rivers and wells and eventually even the rain.

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