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Spanish director Sebastián, his executive producer Costa and all his crew are in Bolivia, in the Cochabamba area, to shoot a motion picture about Christopher Columbus, his first explorations and the way the Spaniards treated the Indians at the time. Costa has chosen this place because the budget of the film is tight and here he can hire supernumeraries, local actors and extras on the cheap. Things go more or less smoothly until a conflict erupts over the privatization of the water supply. The trouble is that one of the local actors, is a leading activist in the protest movement.Written by
correlation between conquistadors and corporations
I first got wind of the political situation in Bolivia around the time of the 2003 protests, and then during the 2005 presidential election that brought coca farmer Evo Morales to power, making him the country's first indigenous president. Oliver Stone's documentary "South of the Border" partly told the story of the World Bank-inspired water privatization in Bolivia: the World Bank forced Bolivia's government to pass a law making it illegal for people to collect rain in buckets since it would have broken the monopoly on water ownership.
Icíar Bollaín's "También la lluvia" ("Even the Rain" in English) tells the story of the privatization, contrasting it with Christopher Columbus's genocide against the Indians. Filmmakers Sebastian (Gael García Bernal) and Costa (Luis Tosar) arrive in Cochabamba to make a movie about Columbus's arrival in the Americas, and the Taino Indians' subsequent rebellion against the occupation. But the events depicted in their movie begin to play out in real life: when the government sets out to privatize the water supply, the actor playing Taino leader Hatuey is one of the leaders of the protests.
The movie - which is dedicated to Howard Zinn - obviously has as its main purpose to show the parallels between indigenous resistance 500 years ago and today. But more than anything, it should offer incite into the roots of the wave of progressive leaders who rose to power in South America during the first decade of the 21st century. I definitely recommend it.
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