EVEN THE RAIN review
Further pushing the exploration is the fact that the subject of the film being made within the film is the conquest of Christopher Columbus' crew (played by popular upper-class actors) over the make-up & loin clothed native peoples. The historical genocide is meant to be realized through a just and altruistic filter by the filmmaker characters, but the hypocrisy wherein the local extras are paid a pathetic pittance is not lost on certain individuals. "Even the Rain" dares to visually address this situation by dressing the local extras, oppressed in their real lives by the water privatization overlords, in the nearly naked native garb of the historically slaughtered. This is just one example of how "Even the Rain", while utterly sincere, is perhaps too on the nose with its purpose.
The performances are terrific, even as the character arcs are ultimately predictable, which is so often the case when a film's politics trump character study. As a global political film and allegory of blatant injustice, "Even the Rain" is above average, but that is the only plane upon which it really thrives. The problem is that the film seems to aspire beyond that.
"Even the Rain" was Spain's official 2010 Academy Award submission for Best Foreign Language Film. The fact than it did not make the cut, yet is receiving theatrical distribution in the U.S. could be read positively as an impressive commentary on the state of foreign film in America if not also on the film itself.
Gael Garcia Bernal (famous for "The Motorcycle Diaries") and Luis Tosar (seen in "The Limits of Control") play the director and the producer, respectively, of the historical epic being made within the film. At the start when they begin casting, Bernal's character, Sebastian, is idealistically vocal in his siding with the locals in their pursuit of social justice. Tosar's character Costa, on the other hand, is all business, cutting corners and crimping on expenses wherever possible, and making no apologies. Of course when it comes right down to it, in what is an accurate depiction of the obsessive nature of all filmmaking, both characters bottom lines are what is best for the film. This makes Sebastian a flake at best and a hypocrite at worst, as it makes Costa simply a prick. Enter Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri), an aggressive local protest leader who finds his way into a featured role in their film project. Unsurprisingly, Daniel emerges as the truth-sayer in all of this, even when it appears that he too can be bought.
Somewhere between an admission of guilty consciousness and statement of undeniable fact lies the irony that the makers of "Even the Rain" chose a film crew as their straw men. The on-screen filmmakers, so clearly in the wrong essentially for merely doing what filmmakers do (although when their sins of exploiting the locals are piled on, then you really start to get somewhere), are never let of the hook, and when their all-important production becomes another victim of a dangerous mass revolt, it is nothing to mourn. "There are more important things than your film", an exasperated Daniel fires back to the fixated Sebastian at one point.
No, film is not the be-all end-all of the world, but at its most effective, it can help change the world. The fact that the makers of "Even the Rain" chose to utilize their industry to question their industry for the greater good points to the evidence that ultimately, they have not lost sight of this fact.
- Jim Tudor
Even the Rain
- Icíar Bollaín
- Paul Laverty
- Luis Tosar
- Gael García Bernal
- Juan Carlos Aduviri
- Karra Elejalde