Even the Rain

A production company arrives in Bolivia to film a movie about the arrival of Columbus in the New World. Caribbean Taino, Andean Quechua – the cost-cutting producer doesn’t seem to care, they’re all the same thing as far as he’s concerned, and they’ll work for $2 a day. The director, Gael Garcia Bernal, is focused only on getting his movie made. The actor playing Columbus is a drunk. And meanwhile, an American company is privatising the water supply of Cochabamba, and the locals, including the leading Bolivian actor, are up in arms. Next thing, they fear, they’ll even privatise the rain….

Rain-02

F%*& me, Even the Rain is a cracking movie. It’s got everything I like: filming on location, cutting social commentary, colonial history, behind-the-scenes stuff, South America. It’s beautifully made, told in a fascinating juxtaposition of rehearsals, filmed performances and live action. But it’s the parallels between the destruction of the native way of life under the Spaniards (as they enslave the tribes for gold) and the equally reprehensible abuse by the gringos 500 years later that is so compelling. I loved it. And it filmed in Cochabamba, where actual water riots took place in 2000…..

Quantum of Solace

Strangely enough, I wasn’t really looking forward to Quantum of Solace, the 22nd Bond offering. In South Africa, movie critics roundly labelled the movie as dull, muttering that the artsy German director couldn’t “do” action, and they hinted darkly that the demise in standards marked the end of the Bond franchise globally. 

So to be honest, I was really pleasantly surprised. I mean, it’s not an outstanding film, and some of the more talkative moments feel awkward and they’re poorly lit. But it’s still got a enough of the old Bond legacy (cars, girls, glamorous locations) to make it striking, whilst moving ahead with the newer, grittier, brawlier Bond of the Daniel Craig era.

Taking up the story immediately after the death of Vesper in the previous film, Bond starts hunting down the people responsible for her death. The journey takes him from Siena to Haiti (with Panama playing grubby stand-in), then to Austria and finally to the deserts of Bolivia, where the criminal mastermind – weedy, nasty Dominic Greene – is undertaking a cunning plan to monopolise scarce water supplies.

So it’s got Bond islands, and Bond car chases along mountain roads and it’s got Bond hotel rooms and Bond girls at champagne-swigging parties. The most striking location is perhaps Greene’s eco-hotel in the desert – which is actually the space-age workers’ quarters at the Paranal Observatory, high in the Atacama Desert, Chile. There’s more at The Times on how to travel like Bond, and Nubricks goes a step further with ideas on how to buy property in the various locations. No gadgets in this movie though.