EVEN THE RAIN (Icíar Bollaín). 103 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (May 6). See listing. Rating: NNN
Even The Rain recreates the 2000 Cochabamba water wars in Bolivia, when the native population rose up against the sale of public waterworks to a foreign corporation, as seen by a fictional Spanish film crew making a movie about Christopher Columbus's discovery of the New World.
It's a straightforward drama about privileged First Worlders - specifically, an idealistic director (Gael García Bernal) and his more pragmatic producer (Luis Tosar) - whose eyes are opened to the harsh realities of the developing world when they give a key supporting role to an activist (Juan Carlos Aduviri) who refuses to suspend his agitation until the end of the shoot.
Screenwriter Paul Laverty uses the Columbus project to lay on the historical ironies with a trowel. He also makes sure that each character gets at least one chance to make a big speech about social justice. (Laverty's been working with Ken Loach for about a decade and a half, and the director's didactic style has clearly rubbed off.)
But if the script threatens to get lost in impassioned rhetoric, Icíar Bollaín's direction keeps the film focused on the human stories playing out within its socially conscious frame, building to a powerful climax.