Even the Rain

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Even the Rain
Theatrical release poster
Directed byIcíar Bollaín
Produced byJuan Gordon
Pilar Benito
Eric Altmayer
Monica Lozano Serrano
Emma Lustres
Written byPaul Laverty
Based on2000 Cochabamba protests
StarringLuis Tosar
Gael García Bernal
Juan Carlos Aduviri
Karra Elejalde
Raúl Arévalo
Music byAlberto Iglesias
CinematographyAlex Catalán
Edited byÁngel Hernández Zoido
Morena Films
Alebrije Cine y Video
Mandarin Cinema
Distributed byVitagraph Films
Release date
  • September 16, 2010 (2010-09-16) (TIFF)
Running time
104 minutes
Box office$5.8 million[1]

Even the Rain (Spanish: También la lluvia) is a 2010 Spanish drama film directed by Icíar Bollaín about Mexican director Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and Spanish executive producer Costa (Luis Tosar) who travel to Bolivia to shoot a film depicting Christopher Columbus’ conquest. Sebastián and Costa unexpectedly land themselves in a moral crisis when they and their crew arrive at Cochabamba, Bolivia, during the intensifying Cochabamba Water War in 2000, which their key native actor Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri) persistently leads.

The film received nominations and won awards internationally, including an Ariel Award for Best Ibero-American Film and three Goya Awards, one of which was Best Original Score for the work of Alberto Iglesias. Additionally, the film was nominated as Spain’s entry for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Mexican filmmaker Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and his Spanish executive producer Costa (Luis Tosar) arrive in Cochabamba, Bolivia, accompanied by a cast and crew, prepared to create a historical film depicting Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the New World, the imposition of Columbus’ will upon the natives, and the subsequent indigenous rebellion by Hatuey. Cognizant of his limited budget, Costa elects to film in Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. There, impoverished locals are thrilled to earn just two dollars a day as extras in the film, and willingly engage in physical labor for set preparation. Costa saves many thousands of dollars by having underpaid extras perform tasks meant to be completed by experienced engineers.

Sebastián casts a local man named Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri) in the role of Hatuey, the Taíno chief who led a rebellion against Columbus; and Daniel's daughter Belén in a crucial role as well. Their first encounter with Daniel gives Costa pause and causes him to oppose his casting, but Sebastian gives him the role. Sebastian is unaware that Daniel is leading demonstrations against the historically real event of water privatization that the Bolivian government has agreed to. Filming begins smoothly despite the alcoholism of actor Anton, (Karra Elejalde) cast as Colón (Columbus), but when Costa observes Daniel's revolutionary involvement, he grows uneasy.

Daniel pretends to acquiesce to Costa's insistence that he stop protesting, but actually continues protesting and sustains facial wounds in a clash with police. At this point, Costa bribes Daniel to wait for filming to conclude before participating in the rebellion again. Daniel agrees, accepting the money, but spends it on funding the protesters and remains involved, eventually becoming bloodied and imprisoned. Sebastián experiences moral conflict and begins to doubt the likelihood of the film's completion, but is reassured by Costa, who bribes the police for Daniel's temporary release in order to film a key scene, in which Colón and his conquistadors execute Hatuey and his rebels. Upon this scene's completion, police arrive in the Bolivian jungle and detain Daniel again, but are besieged by the film's extras which allows Daniel to escape.

That night, when actors Juan and Alberto see the latest news reports showing violence in Cochabamba, they become so worried that they demand to leave. Sebastián begs them to stay and they hesitantly agree. The next day, as the cast and crew prepare to depart for filming, Costa is met by Daniel's wife, Teresa, who desperately implores him to assist her in finding her daughter Belén, who has disappeared into the protests and is reportedly wounded and needing hospitalization. Teresa's persistence wins over Costa's conscience, and despite Sebastián's equally impassioned insistence against it, he leaves with her.

After Costa and Teresa's obstacle-laden drive through riotous Cochabamba, Belén's life is saved, but her leg is badly injured and may never fully heal. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew is stopped by a military blockade and all except Antón leave Sebastián to journey home. The revolution ends shortly thereafter with the departure of the multinational water company, but Cochabamba is left in ruins from the conflict. Costa expresses hope that the film will be finished after all, and Daniel emotionally presents him with a vial of Bolivian water in appreciation for his life-saving efforts.



The film premiered on September 16, 2010, at the Toronto International Film Festival, then debuted in the United States in October of that year (Los Angeles, California); Britain (London Film Festival); and Spain (Valladolid Film Festival).[2] It made its French debut at the Les Arcs International Film Festival in December 2010.[2] It was screened in the Main Programme of the Panorama section at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival and additionally during the 2011 Sydney Film Festival.[3] After special screenings in Cochabamba's Southern Zone and for the Bolivian press, it opened in Bolivia on twelve screens on March 17, 2011.[4] On release the movie was given a 10/10 by Rotten Tomatoes.



Academy Award Entry The film was selected in September 2010 over Daniel Monzón's Cell 211 which also stars Luis Tosar, as the Spanish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 83rd Academy Awards.[5] In January 2011, it landed a spot on the list of the top nine films in its category.[6] However, it was not selected to be among the final five films nominated for the Oscar.

Ariel Awards

Berlin International Film Festival

  • Panorama Audience Award, Fiction Film

Cinema Writers Circle Awards



  • Best Actor (Luis Tosar)
  • Best Editing (Ángel Hernández Zoido)

European Film Awards Nomination

  • Audience Award, Best Film

Goya Awards



  • Best Actor (Luis Tosar)
  • Best Costume Design (Sonia Grande)
  • Best Director (Icíar Bollaín)
  • Best Editing (Ángel Hernández Zoido)
  • Best Film (Juan Gordon)
  • Best Make-Up and Hairstyles (Karmele Soler & Paco Rodríguez)
  • Best New Actor (Juan Carlos Aduviri)
  • Best Original Screenplay (Paul Laverty)
  • Best Sound (Nacho Royo, Emilio Cortés, & Pelayo Gutiérrez)
  • Best Special Effects (Gustavo Harry Farias & Juan Manuel Nogales)

Palm Springs International Film Festival

  • Bridging the Borders Award

Latin ACE Awards

Spanish Music Awards

Critical Response[edit]

The film received generally positive reviews, earning an 88% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but some critics pointed out potential hypocrisy as a shortcoming.[7] Roger Ebert admires the filmmakers’ courage in choosing the Bolivian water crisis as subject matter, but notes potential hypocrisy, writing, "…at the end I looked in vain for a credit saying, ‘No extras were underpaid in the making of this film.’"[8] New York Times writer Stephen Holden also raises this concern, asserting, "You can’t help but wonder to what degree its makers exploited the extras recruited to play 16th-century Indians."[9] Also, Holden addresses Costa's transformation, writing, "Mr. Tosar goes as far as he can to make the character’s change of heart believable, but he can’t accomplish the impossible."[9] Contrarily, Marshall Fine of the Huffington Post views Tosar's efforts as praiseworthy, calling him "perfect as the producer: bull-headed, charming, conniving and wheedling when he needs to be – but a man with a vision, who ultimately gets his mind changed. Tosar makes his conflict not only credible but palpable."[10] Praising the film overall, Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post calls Even the Rain "a story in which personal connections can transcend even the most crushing structures of history and politics."[11]

Film's Historical Context—Bolivian water crisis[edit]


The restoration of civilian rule to Bolivia in 1982 ended decades of military dictatorships, but did not bring economic stability. In 1985, with hyperinflation at an annual rate of 25 thousand percent, few foreign investors would do business in the country.[12] The Bolivian government turned to the World Bank as a last refuge against economic meltdown. For the next 20 years, successive governments followed the World Bank's provisions in order to qualify for continued loans from the organization.[12] In order to move towards independent development, Bolivia privatised its railways, telephone system, national airlines, and hydrocarbon industry. In October 1999, the privatization of Cochabamba's municipal water supply followed, allowed by a new law and the investment of a new firm, Aguas del Tunari – a joint venture involving San Francisco-based Bechtel Corporation. The agreement involved the firm investing in a long-envisioned dam so they dramatically raised water rates.[13]

Protests, largely organized through the Coordinadora in Defense of Water and Life, a community coalition, erupted in January, February, and April 2000, culminating in tens of thousands marching downtown and battling police in the 2000 Cochabamba protests. In April 2000, the national government reached an agreement with the Coordinadora to reverse the privatization. The wave of demonstrations and police violence was described as a public uprising against water prices.[14]

Further viewing[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "Bolivia: The state of siege is no excuse for human rights violations" by Amnesty International, April 2000.[19]
  • Violence Erupts in Bolivia by BBC in April 2000[20]
  • "Return to Cochabamba," a 2008 report by Jean Friedman-Rudovsky on post-revolutionary Bolivia[21]
  • ¡Cochabamba! Water War in Bolivia by Oscar Olivera in collaboration with Tom Lewis[22]
  • Timeline: Cochabamba Water Revolt,[17]
  • Water Privatization Case Study: Cochabamba, Bolivia by Public Citizen[23]
  • "Cochabamba – Water War," a June 2000 report commissioned and published by the U.K.-based Public Services International Research Unit[24][25]
  • "The Politics of Water" in Bolivia by Jim Shultz in January 2005 for The Nation.[26][26]
  • "Letter from Bolivia: Leasing the Rain," by William Finnegan in 2002 for The New Yorker[27]

See also[edit]

Lennon, Paul Joseph; Egan, Caroline (2019). "Conversion and Colonial History in Icíar Bollaín's También la lluvia (2010)". Bulletin of Hispanic Studies. 96 (9): 935–952. doi:10.3828/bhs.2019.56. hdl:10023/18789. Retrieved 16 October 2019.


  1. ^ "Even The Rain". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Even The Rain Release Dates". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  3. ^ "Panorama 2011 with Renowned Directors, Three Films on India and Many New Discoveries". berlinale.de. 2011-01-19. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
  4. ^ ""También la lluvia" se estrena oficialmente en Cochabamba". Los Tiempos. Cochabamba. 2011-03-15. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  5. ^ "Bollaín's Even the Rain joins Oscar race". cineuropa. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
  6. ^ "9 Foreign Language Films Continue to Oscar Race". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
  7. ^ "Even the Rain (Meme La Pluie) (2011)". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
  8. ^ "Even the Rain". Chicago Sun Times. rogerebert.suntimes.com. 2011-02-24. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  9. ^ a b Holden, Stephen (2011-02-17). "Discovering Columbus's Exploitation". New York Times. movies.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  10. ^ Fine, Marshall (2011-02-18). "HuffPost Review: Even the Rain". Huffington Post. huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
  11. ^ "A perfect storm of past and present". Washington Post. washingtonpost.com. 2011-02-25. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
  12. ^ a b William Finnegan (2002-04-08). "Leasing The Rain". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved February 15, 2007.
  13. ^ "Private passions". The Economist. 2003-07-17. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Bolivia's War Over Water | The Democracy Center". Democracyctr.org. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  15. ^ "THE CORPORATION [18/23] Expansion Plan". YouTube. 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  16. ^ Joshua Clover, "Cinema for a Grand New Game," Film Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 4, Summer 2009.
  17. ^ a b "FRONTLINE/WORLD . Bolivia - Leasing the Rain . Timeline: Cochabamba Water Revolt". PBS.org. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 19, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 19, 2006. Retrieved February 16, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "AMERICAS | Violence erupts in Bolivia". BBC News. 2000-04-08. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  21. ^ By Jean Friedman-Rudovsky. "Return to Cochabamba | Earth Island Journal | Earth Island Institute". Earthisland.org. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  22. ^ Oscar Olivera; Tom Lewis; Vandana Shiva. "¡Cochabamba! Water War in Bolivia". Amazon.com. ISBN 9780896087026. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  23. ^ "Water Privatization Case Study : Cochabamba, Bolivia" (PDF). Citizen.org. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2011-11-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ a b Mulvaney, Patrick (2005-01-28). "The Politics of Water in Bolivia". The Nation. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  26. ^ Remnick, David. "Leasing the Rain". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016-10-16.

External links[edit]