Another Latin American triumph, this story bridges 500 years of conquest and exploitation to draw parallels that are seldom seen. The film was nominated for an Oscar in 2011 for best foreign language film.
My queue is so long that I never know what will arrive or how it got onto the list in the first place. So it’s always a surprise. I had no idea where this film was coming from, until the issue with the water appeared.
Bolivia was thrown into civil war over a foreign-owned initiative to privatize their water supply, make collecting rainwater illegal and charge the peasants outrageous amounts–beyond what they made annually–solely to pay foreign companies for water. One of those companies was a US firm, Bechtel.
In the midst of this people’s struggle a film production descends on the rural landscape in order to produce the true story of Columbus’ arrival in the “New World,” his enslavement of the natives and the genocidal policies of the Spanish empire. The people are lined up a mile down the road for a chance to be stars, or at least extras earning $2 a day.
The filmmakers have to then assess their own roles in the larger scheme of things. This is a serious, multi-layered examination of capitalism, resistance and human rights.
Apparently the film was beaten out by Danish/African film In a Better World. I also saw that one, but I found También la lluvia to be more memorable. Neither is perfect, but both are far better than 98% of what plays the US multiplexes.