Icíar Bollaín brilliantly illustrates an array of issues that span from centuries of conquest to modern day imperialism. The Spanish film, También la lluvia, written by Scottish script writer Paul Laverty, encompasses the concept of indigenous heroism and rebellion against what is unjust, the value of creating art, politics and the exploitation of the impoverished in South America through a well-structured script composed with flawless poetry, impeccable acting, and produced with a fresh cinematographic perspective.
The film follows closely events that happened in early spring of 2000 regarding the Water Wars. In the beautiful setting of the film, Cochabamba, Bolivia, the government claims privatization of the public water system, charging the impoverished people an increase of more than 300 percent for irrigation.
También la lluvia begins with a sensitive and genuine film director, Sebastián (Gael Garcia Bernal), arriving with his film crew in Cochabamba, Bolivia to begin filming about one of the world’s most famous conquistador, Christopher Columbus. Sebastián’s script is written with a strong influence from original manuscripts and letters in attempts to convey truth and a new perspective of the conquest of The Americas. Sebastián is determined to create a more realistic image of Christopher Columbus by focusing on his treatment towards the indigenous people of the Americas. However, as the plot in También la lluvia unfolds, the audience witnesses the film begin to parallel what happened 500 years ago through Sebastián’s film, with the economical, political, and unethical issues that arise between the people of Cochabamba.
The concept of modern-day exploitation arises early in the film when Sebastián’s producer, Costa (Luis Tosar), originally chooses Bolivia to take advantage of the resources and desperate people in order to fit the budget. And though the Spanish actors lavish in fine dining, alcohol, and mocking the servants, the first encounter with the ethics of paying the impoverished natives $2 a day for their work came from Sebastián’s script as an actor recited a speech from a hardly known priest, Bartolome de las Casas, regarding human rights.The issues then are highlighted as a local man, Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri), is hired to act as Hatuey, the Taíno chief that rebelled against Christopher Columbus, but is later discovered to also being a key leader in the movement against the injustice in the privatization of the water supply.
As the issues in the city progress, Maria (Cassandra Ciangherotti)– a character documenting Sebastián’s film– begins to record the turmoil and chaos arising in the town. Maria begins to follow Daniel through town and documenting the impoverished people’s rebellion. Despite the lovable essence of Bernal’s character, Sebastián, the audience sees the character’s true colors as he refuses to stand up against the injustice in the Bolivian town for the sake of his film, yet, is creating a movie that highlights the inhumane abuse on the behalf of Christopher Columbus. Eventually, both plots thicken and interweave within each other, emphasizing that the horrors and injustice that partook 500 years ago is are taking place in today’s Latin America through the power in money and large corporations.
También la lluvia showcased an incredible and powerful cast to shine a light on an ignored issue. Together, Bollaín and Laverty created a film that will bring attention to audiences the dehumanization of real people in our modern day world.
Watch the official trailer with English subtitles below: