Even the Rain

Decent political drama about a Spanish film crew (led by an apparently Mexican director, played by Gael García Bernal) who come to Bolivia in 2000 in order to shoot a feature about Christopher Columbus's early subjugation of South American Indians, only to find out that the local Quechua actor they cast as a martyred Indian (Juan Carlos Aduviri) is simultaneously leading a people's revolt against a corrupt international water company.

Inspired by the actual 2000 water protests by the indigenous residents of Cochobamba, and dedicated in its very first frames to Howard Zinn, Even the Rain's politics are worn very plainly on its sleeve. Fortunately it doesn't feel preachy, even as it reveals the parallels between Columbus's treatment of the Indians (in "film within the film" scenes) and the 2000 Bolivian government's treatment of its poor. It reminded me somewhat of 1997's Welcome to Sarajevo, presenting the plight of the suffering through the eyes of cynical "Westerners" (a strange term to use for a Mexican in Bolivia!) forced to understand the meaning of the battle that wages around them. Although what I've described sounds less like a fun time in a movie theater and more like homework, Even the Rain is an entertaining picture – predictable, perhaps, but always engaging, and certainly its themes are still timely, especially amidst the many Middle East revolutions happening in 2011.