A Spanish drama with ambition, heart and a political core, Icíar Bollaín’s fourth feature is an impressive juxtaposition of two distinctly separate stories.
The first sees a production crew, fronted by director Gael García Bernal and producer Luis Tosar, attempting to film the story of Christopher Columbus on location in Bolivia. The second follows an extra on the aforementioned film shoot named Daniel, who fronts a movement to stop the privatisation of water in his local town.
Both are interesting for respective reasons, but the real craft is in intertwining them effectively, which the film achieves with aplomb. They’re so utterly different that the presumption would be that the links would feel forced, but it’s a surprisingly smooth merger. The first story arch is self-reflexive – as films about filmmaking always are – and the second makes you think, as a result the combination is both entertaining and at least moderately potent. Ending it represented a particularly tricky task – the result is satisfying if not spectacular.
Some have suggested that Even the Rain is too blunt in its political commentary. I believe this is too simplistic an analysis. Yes, it presents a very straightforward idea of the oppressors and the oppressees, but it also makes a conscious effort to not offer any solutions. What Even the Rain is really about is the idea that nothing ever really changes, the oppressed remain oppressed and those in power remain ignorant in the belief that they are serving the greater good. Perhaps ultimately there is no answer, perhaps humanity is doomed to live out a cyclical existence of oppression and revolution, with one side occasionally displacing the other without ever solving any of the ingrained issues. The film made me believe that there will always be an underclass existing to fuel the needs of those in power, but that with figures like Daniel, there will always be dissenting voices. It offers few solutions, but how do you solve a problem like the greed of humanity?
Lush landscapes, strong performances across the board and an engaging plot, Even the Rain is a Spanish cinematic treat.