Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Even the Rain (Tambien la Lluvia, 2010) ***

When Gael Garcia Bernal is in a movie, you pretty much figure it's going to be about oppressed peoples struggling against their oppressor. “Even the Rain” manages to fit in two stories along those lines.

Bernal plays Sebastian, a film director making a movie about Columbus, Columbus's enslavement of Indian natives, and the Spanish priests who spoke out against the Indians' treatment. Sebastian's producer, Costa (Luis Tosar) takes them to Bolivia to film in an environment of low overhead and cheap extras. Those impoverished extras, it turns out, are locked in a battle with the Bolivian government over access to water. The government has joined with a multinational corporation on a water project, and the people are no longer allowed to pump water from the ground, collect it from rivers, or even capture the rain that falls on their own roofs. Sebastian and Costa try to stay out of the politics and focus on getting their film completed. The more they try to turn a blind eye to the natives' plight, however, the more hypocritical that blindness feels in light of the movie they are making.

Gael Garcia Bernal is always good, but “Even the Rain” is stolen by two other actors: Luis Tosar as the money-man who finds his conscience, and Juan Carlos Aduviri as Daniel, the native leader of the water uprising. Both actors are magnetic on the screen, and the tense friendship that grows between them is touching, in a manly way.

“Even the Rain” is nothing spectacular, but it's a good, little story about the irony of telling a story about past oppression while becoming a part of present oppression. If you are up for a small, serious, Spanish-language movie with excellent performances, this is a good one.

3 stars out of 5

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