Sometimes, a fictional documentary-style film is the perfect way to bring to light serious issues that might otherwise remain in the dark.
Even the Rain, known as Tambien la Lluvia in its original Spanish version, documents the travels of a movie crew led by producer Costa (Luis Tosar) and director SebastiÃ n (Gael GarcÃa Bernal) in Bolivia. The two men are trying to create a film about the arrival of Christopher Columbus and his subsequent abuse of the natives over 500 years ago. Little do they know, they are about to witness the exploitation of people right before their eyes instead of just through their camera lens.
Costa and SebastiÃ n’s movie mirrors the dilemma of the Bolivians in the city of Cochabamba, where residents are struggling for their right to clean water. Government officials refuse to let poor civilians stop them from doing their job of sealing municipal wells but the people continue to fight and will not back down. The civilian rebellion is led by Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri), a Bolivian who auditions and ends up being cast in Costa and SebastiÃ n’s film as the rebel leader, Hatuey, who rose up against Columbus and his men. Daniel was included in the film after SebastiÃ n witnesses Daniel’s strong will to fight for what he believes in no matter the consequences.
The movie title, Even the Rain, comes from a speech Daniel gives on the street. “Against our will they sell off our rivers, our wells, our lakes, and even the rain that falls upon us,” he says in response to the government’s incessant efforts to privatize water in small villages where it is needed most.
Costa and SebastiÃ n’s barely-there concern for the people’s plight reflects the Western world’s lack of involvement when it comes to the problems of far-off places. Although Costa does manage to rescue Daniel’s daughter when she is hurt in the riots, despite the immediate danger he thrusts himself into by doing so, SebastiÃ n will not stop at nothing until his movie is finished.
To say Even the Rain is politically charged is an understatement. Scenes of Costa and SebastiÃ n’s cinematic depiction of imperialism coincide with the resistance between Cochabamba’s people and their government. The Cochabambinos are being treated in the same barbaric and violent manner as their ancestors were back in colonial days. It is shocking to see the terror that is caused over something as seemingly simple as water, not to mention how little the government cares about the well being of its citizens.
The events in Even the Rain are based on uprisings that took place in Cochabamba in 2000. By combining real events with the fictional plot of Costa and SebastiÃ n’s cinematic endeavour, director Iciar Bollain manages to create something different than the conventional documentary. The director’s vigour and drive is well interpreted through his characters but it is the authenticity of the actors’ skills that is, perhaps, lost in translation.
With an alarmingly sharp drop in the amount of Earth’s most precious natural resource â€“ water â€“ Even the Rain highlights what happens when something vital to humanity’s existence is taken away by force.
Bollain’s film opens the third edition of the Montreal Film Festival on the Environment themed, appropriately, “Water: Challenge of the Century.” Even the Rain blurs the line between fiction and reality and proves that fiction can quickly become truth.
Even the Rain premiers at the FFEM March 4 at CinÃ©ma du Parc.