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Gordon S. Miller Written by Gordon S. Miller
Feb. 15, 2011 | 1:24 PM

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Written by Caballero Oscuro

When a Spanish film crew descends upon Bolivia to film a historical drama, they discover that not much has changed regarding old world imperialism in Latin America . Their film deals with the 16th century conquest of the New World by Spanish explorers, but they quickly find themselves embroiled in an eerily parallel 21st century conflict that threatens to derail their production. The poor indigenous population is faced with crushing costs for water completely controlled by foreign corporations, leading them to take a militant stand against the government allowing the ongoing plunder. With the area on the brink of war, the convictions of the film crew are tested as they must choose to ignore the commotion or take a stand.

The film is carried by the lead performances of Gael Garcia Bernal as the director Sebastian and Luis Tosar as the producer Costa. Although Bernal is clearly the most recognizable actor in the cast (at least for U.S. audiences), his performance takes a back seat to Tosar’s commanding role, with Costa experiencing the biggest transformation during the course of the film. What starts out as a typical callous producer more concerned with saving a buck than caring about his extras gives way to a sensitive and driven man willing to risk his life to save a local child. Along the way, he also bonds with his local star extra, a fiery native impassioned to lead the water revolution in spite of the danger to himself and his place in the cast.

Director Iciar Bollain and screenwriter Paul Laverty do a fine but none-too-subtle job of shepherding this important story to the screen. Although the film is fiction, it is based on the real-life Bolivian “Water Wars” that took place in the year 2000. It’s clear very early on that viewers are supposed to draw the parallel between the historical drama being filmed and the modern drama exploding around the crew, but Bollain and Laverty continue to belabor the point with dialogue and settings that constantly drive home the point, culminating in a literal crucifixion scene in the historical film that immediately precedes the lead extra’s arrest for his rebel activities, with him leaving his film cross for his real one. Still, that lack of subtlety doesn’t derail the skillfully crafted tale, with the final product remaining a thought-provoking and incisive indictment of modern-day imperialism.

Even the Rain opens in select theaters on February 18th, 2011. For more information, visit

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