“Even The Rain”
(Dir. Icíar Bollaín, 2010)
In François Truffaut’s “Day For Night” (1973), the famous French director (playing a fictional famous French director) said: “Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west. When you start, you are hoping for a pleasant trip. By the halfway point, you just hope to survive.”
As the producer and director of a low budget film about Christopher Columbus in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Luis Tosar and Gael García Bernal can relate to that sentiment greatly.
The “Cochabamba Water Wars” of 2000 are raging, and García Bernal just happened to cast the leader (Juan Carlos Aduviri) in the demonstrations against the water hikes to play a pivotal part in his film – Hatuey, the Taíno tribe chief who led a rebellion against the Spaniards in 1512.
Tosar and García Bernal fret about how this conflicts with their filming, but Aduviri simply states: “There are more important things than your movie.”
Scenes from the film within a film about Columbus are often presented without the film makers or crew visible, with documentary style recordings from the actual protests interspersed throughout so a jolting juxtaposition occurs.
We feel the stress in the faces of the extras hired on the cheap as they are unable to take a break from the reality that plans to privatize their vital water supply will threaten their already poverty stricken existence.
Aduviri, is aware of being exploited by the film makers, but is determined to push on for his cause. His passion rivals theirs, as well it should, and the fragility of a threadbare film project contrasted with the escalation of rioting demonstrators is striking to say the least.
By the time the finale comes around, the historical context of both the events portrayed in García Bernal and Tosar’s film, and the overwhelming severity of the strike against the Bolivian government is tightly intertwined.
Director Bollaín is sympathetic in her storytelling drawing vast humanity from the performances of García Bernal, Tosar, and especially Aduviri who definitely steals the film.
“Even The Rain” is a powerful film that illustrates just what it means to survive, whether through cinema or through the strength of one’s convictions.
“Even The Rain” is in Spanish with English subtitles. It is now playing in Raleigh at the Colony Theater, and in Durham at the Carolina Theatre.