Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Apr 18th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Hot Water

film_EvenTheRain01Modern film crew repeats history's mistakes in the gripping new film, 'Even the Rain'
History repeats itself in alarming, ironic, and yet inevitable ways in the adroit Spanish drama Even the Rain. This story of a modern Spanish movie crew descending on a remote Bolivian town to shoot a historical film exposing Christopher Columbus' mistreatment of the indigenous people in the New World becomes a textured, multi-layered study of the many guises of exploitation.

The film is directed with wit and intensity by Icíar Bollaín, a renowned Spanish film actress who has segued into a career behind the camera. Screenwriter Paul Laverty, longtime collaborator with English social realism director Ken Loach on films like My Name Is Joe and The Wind That Shakes the Barley, lived in Central America for three years, working for a human rights organization. Bollaín and Laverty met during the shoot of Loach's Spanish Civil War drama Land and Freedom. Together, they craft a wry and gripping tale that suggests how little things have changed in 500 years.

Gael Garcia Bernal stars as Sebastian, an earnest young filmmaker obsessed with telling the myth-busting true story of the tragic collision of Columbus and his Spanish invaders with the native inhabitants. (He's based his script on actual texts of letters, sermons, log entries, and other factual accounts.) He arrives in Cochabamba, Bolivia, an inland town on the edge of a rain forest, with his tough, pragmatic head of production, Costa (Luis Tosar), and a few vans of personnel and equipment. They're drawn to the area by its lush locale, and its proximity to a village of impoverished local people they can hire cheaply to play the "Indian" extras in the film.

The entire village shows up for the open casting call, their line snaking down the street. The most vociferous among them, Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri), demands that the crew honor their PR fliers and interview all of them. Costa thinks Daniel is a troublemaker, but Sebastian thinks he's perfect for the major role of a native who rebels against the Spanish, and hires him. What the film crew doesn't realize is that the local people are embroiled in a real-life battle over water rights—and Daniel is their leader. The government has contracted with a private company to take control of the water supply, charging the people exorbitant yearly rates to use it. Even collecting their own rainwater is now illegal.

Within this simple, yet effective, framework, three parallel stories unfold. Sebastian and Costa resort to ever more Faustian bargains to protect their investment in Daniel and finish their film. Meanwhile, the people, fighting for their lives over access to water, employ evermore desperate measures to obtain justice, from rallies and demonstrations to blockading the town. And in the film-within-the-film, the attempts by Columbus, his missionaries and conquistadors to subject the local people and fleece them of their resources, leads, predictably, to rebellion—which, in turn, provokes a terrible reprisal from the Spaniards (in this case, burnings at the stake).

Laverty's script is wise to the degrees of exploitation practiced against native people by centuries of outsiders. Welcomed without violence, the Spanish conquistadors immediately impose a tax of gold from the natives for the privilege of living in their own land. Sebastian portrays one Bartolomé de las Casas, a monk in Columbus' party, as a hero for his sermon denouncing the Spaniards' mistreatment of their Indians, but Antón (Karra Elejalde), the actor playing Columbus, points out that de las Casas never once questioned the authority of the Spanish to enslave them for the crown.

Director Bollaín weaves between her modern story (a shot of a gigantic wooden cross looming ominously above the forest while being airlifted to the film set is worthy of Werner Herzog), footage from Sebastian's film, and "backstage" interviews shot by the company videographer, to piece together a compelling tale of history, politics and redemption. Aduviri is marvelous as Daniel, with his haunted face and stoic moral purpose. The bond his character forges with Tosar's brusque but evolving Costa becomes the center of this deft and satisfying film.

EVEN THE RAIN ★★★

With Gael Garcia Bernal, Luis Tosar, and Juan Carlos Aduviri. Written by Paul Laverty. Directed by Icíar Bollaín. A Vitagraph Films release. Not rated. 105 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?