Sharply directed and superbly written, this is a thought provoking and emotionally engaging political drama with terrific performances from Gael Garcia Bernal and Luis Tosar.
What's it all about?
Directed by Iciar Bollain and written by Paul Laverty (Ken Loach's regular screenwriter and Bollain's husband), Even the Rain is set in 2000 and stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Luis Tosar as film-makers Sebastian and Costa, who have come to Cochabamba, Bolivia in order to shoot an authentic drama about Columbus' first encounter with Native Americans. Keen to cast a local in a key role, Sebastian selects political activist Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri) after an open casting call, but the production quickly runs into difficulties when Daniel is arrested for his part in campaigning against a British-American corporation that controls Bolivia's water and the various social injustices involved.
Luis Tosar is superb as producer Costa, who finds himself increasingly drawn into the political unrest, despite his better judgement. Gael Garcia Bernal has the easier role as the more film-focussed director, but he's on fine form here and there's terrific support from Juan Carlos Aduviri (a striking presence as Daniel) and from Karra Elejalde as the volatile actor playing Columbus, who injects some much-needed humour with his constant caustic comments.
Laverty's thought provoking script is excellent, cleverly drawing three-way parallels between Columbus' exploitation of the Native Americans, Bolivia's shameful (and real-life) privatisation of its own water supply (even forbidding locals to collect their own rainwater) and the film crew's own exploitation of Bolivia's workers in the name of cheaper location costs and budgetary constraints.
Bollain keeps tight control of the material throughout, never allowing the obviously strong political material to become either too preachy or too on-the-nose, although a scene-within-a-scene sequence comes perilously close to speechifying. In addition, there's a palpable and genuinely unsettling sense of tension as events off-screen threaten to spiral out of control and the eventual riot scenes are extremely well handled, giving the film an almost documentary-like feel at times.
Impressively directed and superbly written, Even the Rain is an emotionally powerful drama with a thought-provoking script and terrific performances from its two leads. Recommended.
Even The Rain (Tambien La Lluvia) (tbc)