Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day


In Year XXV (give or take a few) of Hollywood: The Vomit Era, Icíar Bollaín's Spanish masterpiece flowed with moments rarely seen in the marketeer States: rage, dignity, meaning, gesture, fellowship, purpose, self-forgetfulness, moral confusion, heroism -- while telling a great story with great pace. In 2000, a production crew invades Cochabamba, Bolivia to make an anti-Columbus period piece about the Columbian exploitation (and eventual extermination) of the native peoples. While filming, a rebellion breaks out over local water rights, involving many of the extras hired for the movie and led by a locally-hired lead actor. The silly director (Gael García Bernal), deeply in love with his own sensitive creativity (it brings tears to his eyes), tries to hold the project together, but when violence rains down on the village rebels, cast and crew seek to flee for their own safety and, if possible, finish the film.

'Though dedicated to Howard Zinn, Even the Rain's quiet humanity moves it far beyond mere polemic, as director Bollaín suggests that, despite the communal nature of the movie-making process itself, movies -- through the demands of isolation and selectivity -- are a deeply private, anti-communal art form.

All performances are perfectly keyed, with Luis Tosar unforgettable as the hard producer turned rebel. The best and most important movie yet of the 2010s.