A handwringing treatise on filmmaking and Third World exploitation from the pen of Paul Laverty.
Icíar Bollaín’s Even the Rain is set against a backdrop of the 'Water War' that took place in Bolivia in 2000. It draws parallels between that event and the colonisation efforts of Christopher Columbus several hundred years prior to it. While morally worthy, however, the film fails to intellectually or emotionally engage.
Film director Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) is making a movie about Columbus' travels. The idea is to present the colonisation from a different angle. The American crew are shooting in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for its geographical and photographic virtues, but also for the inexpensiveness of its labour in the form of extras.
As the crew rolls into town, the locals of the area, and by extension the people that they’re casting as actors and extras, are fighting for their right to maintain cheap access to water as a multinational corporation exercises control over its supply, charging extortionate prices for a resource as simple and vital to life as air.
Filmmaking being what it is, it takes a single-minded director to try and get the film made, a tight-ass producer (Luis Tosar) to ensure the film comes in on budget, and a token alcoholic actor to play Columbus (Karra Elejalde). But what is more important, making a film or having access to water?
While Bollaín and writer Paul Laverty do try to add a level of complexity to proceedings – an asshole producer has a change of heart when tensions between the villagers and the authorities escalate – the characters remain one-dimensional at best.
As with his many collaborations with Ken Loach, Laverty’s socially-conscious writing style appears to be the beginning point for the drama, rather than a story that reflects these issues. What’s left is something to admire from a humanist standpoint, but to forget as art or entertainment.
Husband and wife team Icíar Bollaín and Paul Laverty have made a movie. Hmm.
A handwringing treatise on filmmaking and Third World exploitation. And not a particularly engaging one.
Never really excels in any given area, and re-watch factor is a zero.