EU Film Festival Day 4: Even the Rain (Spain)
Starts: Friday, 19 May, 2017 06:00pm
Ends: Friday, 19 May, 2017 08:00pm
Tonight, we are getting quite political: Even the Rain, a powerful Spanish Drama, deals with the exploitation of the indigenous peoples of Latin America, from the Spanish conquistadores to the present - and the violence and resistance that has also accompanied that process.
Set in this century, Even The Rain tells the story of idealistic director Sebastián (brilliantly played by Gael Garcia Bernal), who comes to Bolivia in 2000 to shoot a film about Christopher Columbus. Sebastián has worthy ambitions; he wants to make a film denouncing the greed of Columbus and the conquistadores and their treatment of the Indian population. He also also intends to celebrate the work of Antonio de Montesinos, the sixteenth century Dominican friar whose preachings against the depredations of the conquistadores were crucial to the emergence of Bartolomé de las Casas as the most influential clerical critic of the brutal exploitation of the Indians of the Americas by his compatriots.
But there are contradictions in Sebastián’s politics. He and his more calculating producer Costa have chosen Bolivia because of its large indigenous population and also because it’s a cheap place to make films. Their arrival coincides with the outbreak of the April 2000 uprising against water privatisations, when peasants and workers engaged in daily clashes with the Bolivian army and police.
One of Sebastián’s extras is Daniel, a young mestizo worker, whose strikingly ‘Indian’ look lands him a key role as the Indian chief Hutuey, crucified for leading resistance against the conquistadores. Daniel is also one of the leaders of the water protests, and as the shooting unfolds it becomes increasingly difficult for him - and also for Sebastián and Costa - to reconcile these two roles.
Initially Sebastián is sympathetic towards the water protests and Indian rights in general - regardless of the fact that he is using Indian extras in order to keep his production costs down - but as the water protests become more violent and Cochabamba becomes a battleground, his commitment to his art becomes a Quixotic obsession which overrides any other considerations, and which transforms his film into another resource, like gold and water, to be extracted from the local population and exported to the West.
A haunting and outstanding piece of political cinema, and an essential film for anyone who believes that cinema should have something more to offer audiences than only entertainment.