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….
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…..
Documenting a 1952 road trip from Buenos Aires, through Patagonia, up through Chile and the Atacama Desert, Macchu Picchu in Peru, the Amazon and ultimately Caracas in Venezuela, the movie The Motorcycle Diaries could have run like a NatGeo South American travelogue. Filming in over 30 locations (many of them haven’t changed much in the last half century) it is indeed breathtakingly beautifully realised.
And since it tracks young Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s growing awareness of injustice, his abhorrence of inequality, the germination of his belief that change could only come when heavily armed, it could also have been a worthy History Channel documentary. Perhaps that’s why I’d waited so long to sit down and watch it.
What I really didn’t expect was a funny, touching and essentially human cinematic rendition of one of the Twentieth Century’s greatest icons. It’s passionate, witty and moving. The Mighty One is the jovial nickname given to the motorbike that carries Che (excellent Gael Garcia Bernal) and his friend Alberto on their travels. The Mighty One is what this journey made of Che. The movie is a haunting, moving, thought-provoking testament to this transformation.
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