This is the Spanish language trailer, with English subtitles, of the film Even the Rain.
By David Walsh in the USA:
Toronto International Film Festival 2010—Part 3
Even the Rain and the need for dealing with complexity
1 October 2010
This is the third of a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto film festival (September 9-19). Part 1 was published on September 23 and Part 2 on September 28 .
Even the Rain (Tambien la lluvia), from director Icíar Bollaín (Spain) and screenwriter Paul Laverty (Britain), was one of the most serious and complicated films screened at the Toronto film festival. It takes on significant questions of history and contemporary social life, as well as artistic and human responsibility.
The film is set in Cochabamba, Bolivia, during the so-called “Water wars,” the struggle against the privatization of water, in 2000. A Spanish film crew has arrived in the area to make a film about Christopher Columbus and his encounter with the indigenous peoples of the “New World.”
The effective opening scene sets the stage. The production, at the behest of the youthful director, Sebastián (Gael García Bernal), has blithely advertised an “open casting” and hundreds of local people have lined up, waiting in some cases for hours. When the filmmakers, having chosen the people they need, try and dismiss the rest of the crowd, trouble erupts. One “ringleader” in particular insists, “You have to see us!” The director gives in, and eventually casts the troublemaker, Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri), as a leader of the indigenous resistance to Columbus, despite the misgivings of the hard-bitten producer, Costa (Luis Tosar).
The company has chosen Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, although the indigenous people are the “wrong” ones from the historical point of view, for economic reasons. Extras earn only $2 a day here, Costa boasts over the telephone to one of the film’s financial backers in the US.
Sebastián has ambitious plans. He centers his film on Bartolome de las Casas (Carlos Santos), a Dominican priest horrified by the Spaniards’ treatment of the native peoples, and Dominican friar Antonio de Montesinos (Raúl Arévalo), the first to denounce the practices openly, in 1511. Montesinos declared in a sermon delivered on Hispaniola (now the Dominican Republic and Haiti) that the Spanish on the island were “all in mortal sin and live and die in it, because of the cruelty and tyranny they practice among these innocent peoples.”
The production within the production as well involves shooting complicated scenes of confrontation and brutality, including the crucifixion of Indian rebels, set deep in the jungle.
Difficulties arise in filming the Columbus movie, and some sequences prove impossible. More threatening to the crew, however, is the outbreak of social protest in the area, as the local people oppose the privatizing of their water supply and price increases of 300 percent. “They steal, sell everything…even the rain.” Daniel becomes a leader of the protests. The filmmakers beg and try to bribe him to remain out of the demonstrations, which involve battles with the police, until the shooting is completed. He apparently agrees, but his commitment leads him to get arrested. In an effort to release him, Sebastián and Costa negotiate with the cops.
The situation in the area, popular blockades and police-military violence, leading to bitter street fighting in Cochabamba, makes going on with the film almost impossible. The backers are jumping ship. Most of the actors want to leave. Sebastián implores them to continue, arguing that protests come and go, but his film, with its demystification of history, will endure forever. His Columbus (Karra Elejalde), a middle-aged actor who drinks too much and has been a constant critic of the director and his hubris, is one of the few who sticks with it. The cynical Costa has a difficult decision to make when Daniel’s wife begs him to help her daughter, wounded in the police attacks.
See also here.
Christopher Columbus did not spread syphilis: here.
Neoliberal policies “which have fed the growing political disaffection of Bolivia’s majority poor, have helped fuel the country’s rolling ‘social revolution.’” This was how a May 6, 2006, US embassy cable from La Paz recently released by WikiLeaks viewed the powerful wave of struggle that led to the election of Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, in 2005: here.
One of the most popular products exported from New Zealand has been the atmospheric Lord of the Rings films. They invoke images of a far off land called Middle Earth complete with massive mountains, panoramic landscapes, and furry wee Hobbits fighting the evil Dark Lord. The next film based in the same fantasy world, The Hobbit, is to be shot in NZ next year. NZ Actors Equity, the union for actors in NZ, has called upon international actors unions to black the film production. Blacking is a refusal by workers to work on a particular project, in this case a film. The International Federation of Actors have agreed, and so unions like the Canadian Actors Equity, US Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, UK Actors Equity, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA, Australia) and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio have boycotted the film: here.
Christopher Columbus didn’t know where he was going when he set out and he didn’t know where he had been when he got back. But was Amerigo Vespucci, who died 500 years ago today and after whom America was named, any better informed? Here.
Columbus May Not Have Been First to America: here.