Hail the con­quer­ing vil­lain

Pasatiempo - - Even the Rain - Jonathan Richards For The New Mex­i­can

Even the Rain; drama; not rated, in Span­ish, Quechua, and English with sub­ti­tles; The Screen; 3 chiles

IMovies about the mak­ing of movies tend to coil back upon them­selves. In Icíar Bol­laín’s pow­er­ful, provoca­tive movie about a Span­ish film com­pany on lo­ca­tion in South Amer­ica to shoot a story about Christo­pher Colum­bus’s ar­rival in the New World, life im­i­tates art im­i­tat­ing life and then some.

The com­pany is mak­ing a re­vi­sion­ist his­tor­i­cal drama about Colum­bus’ ex­ploita­tion and en­slave­ment of the na­tive pop­u­la­tion of His­pan­iola. But the film’s pro­ducer, aptly named Costa (Luis Tosar), has his eye on the bud­get and has opted to shoot in Bo­livia, where ex­tras can be had (ex­ploited) dirt cheap. So what if the In­di­ans of the Bo­li­vian high­lands don’t look any­thing like the In­di­ans of the Caribbean, and there’s no coast­line? Who’s go­ing to no­tice?

The film’s di­rec­tor, Sebastián (Gael Gar­cia Ber­nal), for one. Re­luc­tantly he goes along. But when he and Costa ar­rive at the cast­ing call for ex­tras and find hun­dreds more than they need snaking back in a line that stretches be­yond their view, he balks at Costa’s edict to take the first ones and send the rest away. One of the ap­pli­cants in the line, a small, sharp-faced In­dian named Daniel ( Juan Car­los Adu­viri) who has trav­eled a long way with his daugh­ter in re­sponse to the com­pany’s hand­bill call­ing for ex­tras, re­fuses to budge. Against Costa’s warn­ing that “he’ll be trou­ble,” Sebastián is in­trigued by Daniel and casts him in the lead­ing role of Hat­uey, the Taíno chief from His­pan­iola who led a revolt against the Spa­niards in 1511.

Juan Car­los Adu­viri

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