Even The Rain Review

Even The Rain follows film director Sebastian who is hell bent on making a film that accurately explores and portrays the life of Christopher Columbus.

Rather then the popular Disney portrait of a pioneer who discovered a foreign land, Sebastian wants to show how Columbus’ greed for gold radically informed and shaped much of future foreign policy concerning the Americas.

Aided by his long time friend and producer Costa, Even The Rain opens with the casting of extras and native characters in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba. Yet this is a city on the brink of civil war.

The privatization of water has forced thousands to demand social justice, and the filming of Sebastian’s movie is thrown into doubt as the Cochabamba’s inhabitants grow restless.

Iciar Bollain’s movie shifts between the growing unrest in Cochabamba and the growing rushes of Sebastian’s own filming of Columbus; weaving together a story of corporate greed, oppression and the need for a new moral code.

This film is a case study in self-obsessed cinema. Director Iciar Bollain and writer Pail Laverty seem so sure of their own brilliance they spend most of the film trying to show you how phenomenally intelligent they are.

The parallels between Columbus and the current water privatisation are so heavy handed, they leave the viewer exhausted when a subtler approach may have achieved something more noteworthy.

Yet their fear that the audience might not have grasped the complexities of their intentions led them down a path of overly explanatory dialogue, absurd character realisations, heightened melodrama and a lack of cinematic heart.

Using Daniel, played by Juan Carlos Aduviri, as the central leader in the Cochabamba riots as well as the actor portraying the central dissenter against Columbus draconian rule, was a perfect example of Even The Rain’s banality.

It robbed the film of any sense of honesty, as they subvert the actual atrocities of the Cochabamba’s water riots in 2000 with scenes of petty squabbling on Sebastian’s set.

If handled with a light touch, this mirroring could have been poetic, but the plethora of characters and story lines explored in its modest hour and forty-minute running time was overly ambitious.

Event The Rain was further troubled by its lack of distinct styles. All three stories were shot in identical style, and the lack of distinct narrative voices confused the plot and stripped any semblance of believability from the central character of Sebastian played by the incredibly talented Gael Garcia Bernal.

Sebastian’s film so closely mirrored the style Bollain used in the other two stories, that it felt like sloppy and unimaginative direction.

Of course, using the actual Bolivian water riots as a central part of the film’s narrative is of great merit. The rawness of the scenes exploring Cochabamba and its decline into a riot zone were far and away the most haunting and beautiful of the film.

Luis Tosar’s greed minded Costa was also a brilliant character, though this is undermined by an absurdly radical character shift towards the end. Though Tosar manages to act the characters arc beautifully, it is comically heavy handed.

Ultimately Tosar’s performance and the character of Costa is a good synecdoche for the film as a whole. Beautiful and clever in places, it is ultimately undone by it’s own desire to be brilliant which sadly renders it rather heartless.

Even The Rain will seep from your mind moments after you’ve seen it, much like water falling on parched earth. Blink twice and all but the faintest memory of this film will be gone.

Shelton Lindsay

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May 2012
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