Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Drama, Spanish (sub-titled)
Opens locally Friday, March 11th, 2011, exclusively at the Main Art in Royal Oak
Run Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes, Not Rated
Starring: Luis Tosar, Gael Garcia Bernal, Raul Arevalo, Karra Elejalde
Directed by Iciar Bollain
"Even the Rain" is a compelling drama set in Cochabamba, Bolivia. It was Spain's entry into the Best Foreign Language Film category at this year's Oscars, making the short list of 9 but failing to land a nomination. It deserved one, and is definitely a film worth seeing, especially with the horrendous, awful films released by the major studios in the past few weeks (think Hall Pass, Red Riding Hood, Take Me Home Tonight, and Mars Needs Moms to name a few).
The lines of reality and documentary are blurred in story that packs a real moral punch. A filmmaker arrives in Bolivia to shoot a film about Christopher Colombus's arrival in the new world, and how his arrival affected Native Americans (referred to throughout this film, in the sub-titles anyways, as "Indians"). Bolivia was chosen as a location due to the poor economy and the cheap labor that could be acquired to help produce the film. Just as Colombus's arrival led to the subjugation of the Indians, the film crew's arrival puts them in the middle of an existing demonstration happening in Cochabamba dealing with the forced privatization of Bolivia's public water companies...a real event that occured at the turn of the 21st Century.
The most intriguing part of the movie is how the line is blurred between what is a movie and what is real. Actual protest footage used in the film is often inter-cut with the movie, and sometimes you can't tell which is which. It is a movie about people making a movie, which adds layers that keep you on your toes. This is brilliantly composed and shows the similarities between the time of Colombus and the injustices that exist still today.
What works best are these parallels, created and available for the audience to understand without ever hitting us over the head with any information. People can't believe what Colombus and his men really did way back then, but when you stop to consider, you realize that the same injustices are currently happening even in today's world. There are no easy conclusions to draw from the film, as it stays compelling without being preachy.
On the backs of some strong performances, some eye-opening events and topics, and a masterful stroke of directing panache (by Iciar Bollain), "Even the Rain" may not be the best movie of this or any year, but it is most certainly the best movie currently in theatres.
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