I’ve been sick with gastritis (a stomach bug) for the past couple of days, so in addition to eating jello and chicken soup and soda crackers with quesillo (something I can only eat when sick) and ginger ale, I’ve been watching movies.
I have a short attention span when it comes to movies. When I watch movies with my family back in the states, I’m known to fall asleep in the middle, miss important details, and then ask that everyone explain the ending to me. Here, I normally watch movies on my laptop and therefore tend to pause halfway through and check my e-mail, or google something the movie talks about. And for this reason, I normally stick to watching light romantic comedies, that somehow can hold my attention more than serious dramas.
But yesterday I watched two movies actually worth talking about (i.e. they were not entitled Friends with Benefits or The Hangover 2), so I’m going to talk about them.
También la lluvia (Even the Rain) (2010)
My dear friend recommended this movie to me, and I didn’t even know that Gael García Bernal was in it until I started watching it. He is perhaps one of my favorite actors and very easy on the eyes, so I would have probably hurried to watch it before if I had known. Tambien la lluvia is about a team of Spanish filmmakers who travel to Cochamamba, Bolivia in 2000 to film a movie about Christopher Columbus and the Taíno rebellion on the island of Hispaniola. They decide to film in Bolivia because of the cheap labor they can obtain, and cast indigenous Bolivians as the Taíno people. At the same time, the Water Wars of Cochamaba are starting, and one of the Bolivian actors who they have cast as the leader of the Taíno rebellion is one of the leaders of the water protests. It is a beautiful film that juxtaposes the story of Columbus’ massacre of the Taíno with the modern-day subjugation of the indigenous people in Bolivia.
This movie is in Spanish, and I had to turn on the subtitles because they use a lot of terms from Spain and Bolivia that I am not familiar with.
This film is based on the true story of the death of American writer Charles Horman during the coup d’état in Chile in 1973. I decided to watch this movie, because this week a Chilean judge ordered the indictment of a former U.S. military officer, Capt. Raymond E. Davis, in the Horman’s death. According to the movie, and to declassified state department documents, Horman was killed by the Chilean military with complicity from the U.S. government, because he found out too much information about the U.S. involvement in the coup. The movie was released in 1982, when Dictator Augosto Pinochet was still in power, which was a risky move. In fact, the movie was banned in Chile at the time of its release.
Missing was filmed in Mexico, because it obviously could not be filmed in Chile, and in fact, Chile is never mentioned by name during the film, although the cities of Viña del Mar and Santiago are.
I’m not an expert, and didn’t live in Santiago during the coup so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of how accurately the movie portrays the ambiance in Chile after the coup. I know there was a curfew, and bodies showed up on the streets, but I don’t know if the army went around shooting people in broad daylight with machine guns, like it portrays in a couple of scenes of the movie.
However, I think it’s an important movie, especially if, like me, you don’t know the story of Charlies Horman.
The movie is in English, and most of the Spanish is subtitled.