Dear friends and readers,
Strongly recommended film: Even the rain
It’s the story of a group of people trying to make a film: they are the individuals we are to see history/politics through. They are come to Bolivia to make a film where they expose the horrific open cruelty/brutality of Columbus and his henchman to the local Indians; the parallel story is they find themselves hiring Indians and just local people, most of whom who are living in abject poverty. Just at that time the gov’t has given a multinational all the rights to the water in the country, and the people find they can’t get water; all their pipes are broken. They make something like $40 a year ($2 a day) on average and the company proposes to put up the price 300%. The members of the company are this liberal group who mean to expose the injustice that once was openly brutal and exists today too (not aimed directly at bodies), and are shown to be themselves exploiting these Indians in the same (if more mild way).
The company is welcomed by the leaders of the city and the conversation and ways of life (for example in eating) makes explicit all the parallels.
We see people murdered, maimed, beaten, and (offstage are told about) tortured in the streets, vast parts of the city destroyed as we see destruction; in the film story we see torture (the Indians in the film are burnt to death, parts of their bodies chopped off when they don’t produce gold, won’t work like animals) on location stages.
The people win out over the establishment for the moment by fighting back; that is, the multinational decides it’s not worth it and gets out. The way the people win iss by insisting violently, which is the only way they can do it — physically on holding onto their water supply as it’s physically being taken from them, backed by armed militia. The native people do this because they need it. It’s not a matter of some “entitlement” coming to you, but water itself. Like air.
The moral of the piece: unless you are violent and take back whatever it is that is taken from you, you will lose it. Peaceful demonstrations don’t hack it. We have an example of this this week: a huge demonstration in London against the brutal cuts, and the Tories go on to pass the legislation and implement it.
Even the Rain is done in the modern strongly realistic or verisimilitude style. From the point of view of self-reflexive art it’s also remarkable: we sometimes watch the film making through the camera film; we can’t always at first tell if the actors are playing their roles in the film or are being themselves.
As history/politics art film it’s also worth seeing — for the the use of flashbacks and montage (though there is, tellingly, little voice-over – they are trying to be commercial and move forward as action-adventure heroism too).
Here’s another fine blog review about it.
A film we ought to support by going there and then writing about it.