Movie Review: EVEN THE RAIN

EVEN THE RAIN is a strong Spanish drama about a film crew that goes to South America to shoot a historical movie about how Christopher Columbus came to America and promptly enslaved the natives.

But although the filmmakers are out to show the truth about Columbus, they exploit native people just like he did.

The Spanish movie company shooting in landlocked Bolivia (because it's cheaper there) runs into trouble when it holds auditions for extras and too many people show up.

Sebastian, the director, played by Gael Garcia Bernal (THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES), is sympathetic, but the penny pinching producer played by Luis Tosar is hard nosed. He wants to dismiss everyone immediately.

Obviously, in 500 years the way white people treat Natives hasn't changed much.

And even as the movie is being shot, Daniel, its main local actor, leads demonstrations against the local government which has sold the country's water rights to a big American cooperation which means that now these Indians have to pay a high price for water they get from own lands.
"They sell off our rivers and even the rain," Daniel yells through a megaphone. "We declare that if privatization of water is not revoked within 48 hours, we will begin an indefinite blockade of the city and the roads."

The fact that Daniel could soon be arrested and jailed is a huge problem for the production, but a government official is not sympathetic.

Sebastian (the director): "I think their demands are reasonable. If someone earns two dollars a day he can't pay a 300 percent increase in the price of water."
Government official: "That's what I'm told you pay the extras."

The hypocrisy of the filmmakers is clear to everyone but them. And when the demonstrators make good on their threat and the country descends into chaos, what will the film production do?

EVEN THE RAIN is not a masterpiece, but it's a fascinating look at how an idealistic person becomes a scoundrel and a selfish man discovers compassion.