Intriguing Meta-Cinema Ideas Undercut by Didactism in Even the Rain
Akin to Truffauts Day for Night as reimagined by Howard Zinn (to whom its dedicated), Even the Rain revolves around the Bolivia-set production of a celluloid epic about Columbuss arrival in South America, a historical tale of abuse and rebellion that dovetails with an ongoing conflict between a multinational water company and the locals who, when not performing as part of the films cast, openly oppose it. Domestic unrest encircles the crew, which includes a bleeding-heart director (Gael García Bernal), a culturally insensitive money man (Luis Tosar), and a drunken star (Karra Elejalde), who wonders if the projectwhich slams the famed explorer and lionizes two 16th-century missionaries who championed equality for native Indiansis propaganda rather than art. The larger looming question is whether the films production is guilty of the very exploitation against which its story rails, and whether the entire endeavor is masturbatory when compared with active, here-and-now struggles. Its an intriguing meta-cinema concern bolstered by solid performances. Yet with the film-within-a-film scripted sequences vainly striving for Terrence Malick-y lyricism, and the water-privatization narrative delivering moral-awakening didacticism, director Icíar Bollaín mixes Even the Rains various storytelling modes with an obviousness that ultimately negates enlightening intellectual or emotional discovery.
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