Essentially a film-within-a-film, "Rain," set in 2000, merges the making of a film about Christopher Columbus and his invasion of this brave new land with current events happening in the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia, where the film, directed by Sebastián (García Bernal), is being shot. The politics come in early, as Sebastian's plan is to portray the historical events as a mission of greed and a quest for riches that led to disaster involving the natives already living there.
Of course Columbus never set foot in these locations, but the film's producer, Costa (Luis Tosar), chooses them for budgetary reasons and forces it on his director, in essence exploiting the area's poor inhabitants , dismissing them cavalierly the way the film-within-a-film does 500 years earlier. Sebastian, goodhearted auteur that he is, insists on casting the film locally and hires activist Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri) as the leader of the uprising against the Spanish invaders. As filming is going on, real-life problems arise over an attempt to take Cochabamba's water supply out of the public sector and put it in private hands—a disaster for the very poor community and hence the title "Even the Rain." That this is based on real-life events gives the film even more gravitas.
García Bernal is perfectly cast as the anything-but-jaded filmmaker who gets more than he bargained for on location for his film. Aduviri is excellent as Daniel, who plays a leader and becomes one at the same time. Tosar as the film's producer is a bit one-dimensional, but well-suited to the stereotype of a penny-pinching movie producer. As Anton, the actor playing Columbus, Karra Elejalde is effective, particularly when he gets into it with another actor (Carlos Santos) when questions arise about the accuracy of certain aspects of the script they are performing.
All of this is tricky to pull off, but screenwriter Paul Laverty makes it seem easy. Perhaps having written a number of films for the very political British director Ken Loach, Laverty was well-prepared for this assignment—a challenge on many fronts, including the fact it is in another language. Everyone involved should be commended for an effort well worth the viewing.
Written by: Paul Laverty
Directed by: Icíar Bollaín
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Luis Tosar, Juan Carlos Aduviri, Karra Elejalde, Carlos Santos.