F.I.L.M. of the Week (July 25, 2014)

25 07 2014

Even the RainApparently, everyone from NPR to CollegeHumor is trying to make “Columbusing” a thing.  The phrase is used to describe the act of false discovery and claiming it as your own.  So in the spirit of trying to be trendy, my pick for the “F.I.L.M. of the Week” is Iciar Bollain’s “Even the Rain,” a Spanish film that quite literally looks at the original act of “Columbusing” and its ramifications.

Bollain’s film takes off from a story where life quite literally begins to imitate art.  In “Even the Rain,” Gael García Bernal stars as Sebastian, a Spanish director looking to film a movie about the Spanish conquest of Latin America on the cheap in Bolivia.  He ultimately gets quite a bit more than he bargained for in his location, however.

At the same time as his picture is shooting, great civil unrest and riots are rocking the community.  The workers are suffering at the hands of multinational corporations that are charging exorbitant fees for access to water.  Sebastian and his creative team find themselves drawn into the conflict, against their desires and wishes, when one of the Bolivian stars of their film leads vehement opposition against their exploitation.

Bollain’s film raises important questions about colonialism, both ancient and modern.  And thanks to fine performances from Bernal (who always seems to pick the best Spanish-language projects – no offense, “Letters to Juliet“) and Carlos Aduviri as the Bolivian firebrand, “Even the Rain” is more than just a political diatribe.  It’s gripping cinema with a real conscience.