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Review: Even the Rain

A shower of varying perspectives. The film Even the rain by Icíar Bollaín soaks the spectator in a shower of magical, committed, honest and necessary ways of seeing at the Avenida 5 Cines in Seville.

By:  Leonardo Sardiña
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También la lluvia
Directed by: Icíar Bollaín
Actors: Gael García Bernal, Luis Tosar & Karra Elejalde
Year: 2010
Nationality: Spanish
Did you know? it has 13 nominations for the 2011 Goya Awards

While the director draws on classic sources, she aligns herself with the contemporary realism of Ken Loach for which she is already well-known in order to show us her particular vision of the eternal struggle between the oppressed and their oppressors.

The first premise of the movie is that of historic commitment: the story of the adventures of a group of filmmakers who travel to Latin America. They come to make a film that highlights the historical importance of both Bartolomé de las Casas and Antonio Montesinos, the first priests to denounce the abuses of the conquistadores and the first to defend the rights of indigenous Indians. They were the true precursors of liberation theology. This viewpoint attempts to take us back to our forgotten history, the side of the story that normally gets neglected when victors write their history. Converted into slaves, the indigenous were conquered and uprooted, and their struggle continues today. There is a large dose of irony in the film. Reality and fiction overlap from the go as the film makes its narrative path clear: that of a film within a film.

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This historical aspect of the plot is juxtaposed with today’s reality: that of the indigenous perspective, of America, of those who lost out and those who were forgotten. The intensity and depth of the faces of the Indians in the movie entrap the audience to bring across the director’s main message: social critique. “Survive is the best thing we can do,” replies Hatuey, the Bolivian actor playing an Indian chief who was burned alive as an example for those who opposed the Christians, in response to a question from the producer of the film who asks “and now what are you going to do?” And so begins the never-ending cycle once more, as it did 500 years ago.

Present and past intertwine, as the colonization of the 16th century in search of gold merges with the current exploitation and resistance to the privatization of water in Cochabamba in 2000. Indigenous savages are pitted against imperial Spanish Christians, and the indigenous poor against imperial multinationals. Neither Fray Bartolomé nor his modern day reincarnation can do much to stop it.

The film does however follow a pretty predictable course. Characters evolve towards their extreme opposite as the film takes its course. For example, we witness fear get the better of Bartolomé de las Casas when the fighting becomes reality. Even the magnificent Karra Elijalde, who plays ambitions Cristóbal Colón in the film within the film, is actually a generous and alcoholic actor whose true character comes into being as things get tough.

In the midst of the chaos, the character of the director of the film within the film, played by Gael García Bernal, represents the majority of us, the viewers: we who are riddled with doubts, who want to move forward without steamrolling others, who want to enjoy life but can’t quite rid ourselves of excess baggage, who have a conscience that bothers us. The film represents those of us who sometimes do things right while other times we don’t. His teary eyes are our eyes and they focus our gaze back on ourselves. The viewer becomes narrator and witness.

The script and the staging are both at times a little obvious. It’s simply irritating when Costa and Sebastian (producer and director respectively) say the same phrase a few scenes apart, or when the house of the dirt poor Daniel looks like it’s located a middle class suburb. But the production is noteworthy, the acting strong, the casting superb and the emotions it inspires are convincing. You have to see it, to experience this shower of varying perspectives and to exit the cinema drenched in the story. The reality outside is similar and maybe, just maybe, this film will help us grow a conscience.




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El 16 January 2011 a las 10:07 PM, pepa dijo...

Leo, has hecho una crítica estupenda de la película, digna de un profesional crítico de cine.
¡Qué visión tan amplia y generosa, a le vez que inteligente!

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El 8 February 2015 a las 12:23 PM, Kenny dijo...

exacted@wyckoff.teaspoonful” rel=”nofollow”>.…

tnx for info!…

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El 11 February 2015 a las 11:40 AM, Lewis dijo...

modified@diversified.catching” rel=”nofollow”>.…

ñýíêñ çà èíôó….

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