Monday, October 10, 2011

También la lluvia


Sebastián (Gabriel Garcia Bernal) is a director with a film project about the life of Fray Bartolome de las Casas. Along with his producer Costa (Luis Tosar) and the rest of the crew, they fly to Cochabamba in Bolivia and cast indigenous Quecha for USD2 each a day as extras. Their lead actor Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri) plays Athuey, the indigenous chief. Later on they find out that he is also the leader of the local protest movement against a multinational company that has cut off their water supply. As the tension escalates in the city, the whole cast and crew is caught in between. Will they be able to finish their movie just in time before a violent confrontation between the police and the protesters turns into a full scale war?

It is one of those films that you have to see once in a while to jolt you back to reality, to make you realize how trivial your problems are compared to other people no matter where you are in the world. The problem presented in this movie seems so simple, water supply, but dig deeper and you will find all the complications. In the end it becomes a showdown where one does not really win, since both outcomes would generate losers in the long run. The winners only win for a short time. 

I could relate more to Sebastián. He is stubborn and just would not budge. To some, his movie might seem unimportant. However, when viewed from the perspective of a visionary, one could say that he is just guarding his dream. It just happens that the said dream relies on too many individuals to be realized. So I do not really blame the guy for being stubborn. We all are at some point in our lives.

Costa, on the other hand, is a perfect example of a person who takes a 180 degree turn from apathetic to sympathetic and involved. He seems to be the exact opposite of Sebastián. They are exposed to the same stimuli but they react differently. There are people in this world who think they could make a difference and there are just many ways to do it. Sebastián thinks it is through his film while Costa thinks it is through direct involvement. In the end his choice made a difference and had an unforgettable impact on his life. Good for him.

One powerful scene that struck me was when the police came to arrest Daniel while in full American Indian costume. The struggle that follows it is full of symbolic imagery. Times and vestments might have changed but the struggle of those indigenous people has been ongoing since Columbus discovered the New World. They are still hounded by the impositions of people "invading" their land, telling them what to do when in fact it has been the land of their ancestors since time immemorial. 

You will love this movie. It is a movie within a movie which also serves as some sort of documentary for real events that occurred in Cochabamba in the early 2000’s. The parallelisms between what is happening in the movie within the movie and the movie itself couldn’t have been presented in a more engaging manner. Kudos to the director. I highly recommend this! Catch it before the film festival ends this week.

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