Director: Iciar Bollain
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Juan Carlos Aduviri, Luis Tosar
In Spanish, with English subtitles
A film crew led by the idealistic director (Gael Garcia Bernal) and the opportunistic producer come to Bolivia to make a film about Columbus' conquest of the New World 500 years ago. The film is supposedly aimed to denounce exploitation. Ironically, however, the production team appear to be exploiting the native Indians of Bolivia that they've hired as bit players. The film gets interesting when, during shooting breaks, the bit players, led by Daniel, a native Indian, who has a very important role in the movie, join protests over the privatization of the region's water supply. This will lead to bloody clash between the protesters and the police. Daniel gets jailed. Many bit players get hurt. The production is stalled.
This layered film is a kind we call "a film within a film." The best thing about the film is in how it shows the parallelism of the Columbus' conquest in search of gold using the spreading Christianity as excuse, which is the subject of the film being filmed in the film, and the unconscious exploitation of the hired bit players by the film crew, and the protests of the (modern) native Indians in La Paz, Bolivia, over the privatization of the region's water supply by capitalists from Los Angeles and London.
All the characters are so interesting that you can empathize with their actions. Gael Garcia Bernal's character, however, appears inconsistent in his actions and decisions. However, I look at it as the real character of that character - being inconsistent under pressure.
One of the best films I've seen in years!
Date seen: September 11, 2013