The award winning Spanish actress and director of Take My Eyes, Icíar Bollaín, has made an emotional and insightful film with Even the Rain , which touches on modern day environmental concerns of Bolivian Indians as well as looking at the poignant historical scars left by the Spanish Conquistadors as they swept across Latin America centuries earlier.
It’s essentially a film within a film. An enthusiastic young director Sebastian (Gael Garcia Bernal) has big plans to make a powerful movie covering the cruelty of the Conquistadors towards the native Indians and how this led to rebellions and a deep rooted distrust.
This production takes place against a backdrop of the Bolivian Indians’ struggle with authorities over control of their wells and water supplies as multi-national companies pressurise the government to grant them total control. This is based on real life events which saw large scale protests from Bolivian Indians in what became known as the Cochabamba Water Wars.
Just as the Spanish exploited the Indians and treated them so terribly many years prior, their plight is mirrored in the modern age. Not only is the government seeking to extort money from them but soon we realise that the film is also taking advantage of their cheap labour.
There is a telling moment where Sebastian is pleading with Indian leader Daniel to force his fellow Indians to undertake a controversial scene. The director insists “it’s important for the film”, to which Daniel replies “some things are more important than your film.” A point which Sebastian and producer Costa struggle to see at first, though as they spend more time with the Indians they begin to feel a greater connection to their plight.
It’s an inspiring story of defiance and one which gives a valuable insight into the Indians and their lives. The juxtaposition between the Conquistadors’ dealings with the native Indians and the modern day struggles is handled brilliantly and results in a powerful film which will doubtlessly encourage you to read up on the subject yourself.