Saturday, April 30, 2011

Even the Rain (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Even the Rain

"Even the Rain" tells the story of an idealist director Sebastian (played by Gael Garcia Bernal) and his quest to film Christopher Columbus' conquest. Sebastian is a quixotic and Herzog-like figure. He will film his vision at any cost even if it means cutting corners. His producer ( Luis Tosar) decides to film in Bolivia to save money and pays the resident extras just two dollars a day. But in Sebastian's mind this is okay. The  movie is the voice of the indigenous people. Throughout the filming he becomes exasperated.
From the very start it seems that Sebastian will have an even more disasterous time than Herzog did with "Fitzcaraldo". The extras are seeped in misery: long hours, uncomfortable conditions and hardly any pay. 
Suddenly Sebastian has an epiphany. He sees his idealist Taino chief Hatuey in the face of Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri).

Daniel is every bit as iconoclastic and passionate as Klaus Kinski. His is face imprinted with intensity and the wanting of hope. When Daniel is transformed into  the leader of a crusade for anti-government water, the film becomes jeopardized. 
Sebastian pleads with Daniel but to no avail. His face is an impassive mask of oppression, pathos and sorrow as powerful as Brando's Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now." Finally the producer steps in and offers him thousands. Daniel takes the money. On Daniel's wall is a Catholic calendar. The sway of Christopher Columbus: the movie, religion and commerce,  has intruded on Daniel  now. The next day he is arrested.
The producer works out a deal to drop the charges on the condition that he is brought back to police custody. Sebastian's  hands are tied.
The crucial scenes are done. At the conclusion of the filming, Daniel is ambushed by the police. He manages to get away, resplendent in his grease paint-- a peacock of revolution. 
The compelling moments in the film are the ones deep in the jungle with a sweating director trying to film his story as the bored inhabitants watch and wait for anything to happen but    the immediate filming. They could care less. Under the circumstances of little pay and absolute dominance, who can blame them. 
Gael Garcia Bernal is able and interesting enough in his role as an indigenous-minded director who sometimes changes his ideals, but it is Juan Carlos Aduviri who is the real star here. His acting is full of verve and power and his expressions cannot be reproduced by any Rick Baker wizardry or CGI digital effects. Aduviri  possesses a facial narrative that speaks of the past, present and future.

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