Even the Rain on Release in UK

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Even the Rain gets a run in UK cinemas.

> Click here for more info on the film.

> Click here for details on the book.

‘Bollaín and Laverty offer a cutting, self-critical analysis of their medium while finding an honest and effective perspective on history’  – Time Out

‘This smart fable stars Gael García Bernal as a heartthrob Herzog’ – The Guardian

‘Sharply directed and superbly written, this is a thought provoking and emotionally engaging political drama’  – View London

‘The story oozes ambition while Gael Garcia Bernal gives a superb performance’ – Virgin

‘Even The Rain is clever, warm and compelling, and kept me thinking long after I departed the cinema.’ – Don’t Panic

‘Scores points for stylistic ambition and its heartfelt sympathies towards the dispossessed. – Total Film

‘With each new Laverty script there is renewed hope that cinema can achieve its lofty ideals.’ – The Quietus

‘Even the Rain reminded me in one of the most masterful ways I have ever seen, that the Indigenous people are still being dehumanized in the 21st Century.’ – Edward James Olmos

‘At a time when the poor of the world seem to be rising up, I found myself deeply moved and completely enthralled by this film.’ – Michael Moore

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BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters Lecture

Paul Laverty talks about his approach to writing screenplays and the importance of team work in film making in his BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters Lecture 2011.

On whether writing in Glasgow vernacular comes easiest:

Yeah, by a mile. I suppose I’m very lucky too. Ken’s always really been supportive in helping with that. We’ve made films in Los Angeles and Nicaragua and other places, and I’m always just really respectful of the differences with people. Someone from Mexico City has got a different life view from a Campesino in Nicaragua, or someone who’s grown up in Los Angeles. They’re all very, very different, so you have to work much harder and listen. You can never capture it the same way. But with something from Glasgow, well it’s your natural rhythm and it’s much easier.

I’ll never forget, the day I actually sat down to start My Name Is Joe. I remember the blank sheet and the absolute exhilaration because I thought this man was going to bring us to troublesome places. What I loved about the character Joe, in my head before I started, was one of the steps – one of the 12 steps, I think it’s the fourth one – he’s got to make a fearless moral inventory of himself. And there’s great juice with that.

So you don’t know exactly where it might go, but you just feel it’s going to take you on a journey and I love that kind of sense of excitement, of not exactly knowing where you’re going to go.

On where his characters come from

I do listen and talk to an awful lot of people. I think listening, for a writer, is greatly underestimated. It’s underestimated for a human being. People are happy to talk about their lives. What you’re doing with a screenplay is that you’re trying to understand the world from someone else’s point of view. You only see the world from your point of view, so to try and understand it just by listening to people just gives you great information and new ideas.

I don’t think you can copy a screenplay from the street. You can’t do that. But it really gives you a lot more information, a lot more ideas, if you’re talking to a kid, or someone from a different culture, a different language, a different sex or who is much older or younger; someone from a different country who has just seen the world a different way. And when you listen and talk to them it’s sometimes absolutely remarkable. So I like to do all that. But when it comes to the character, I’ve never copied a character that I’ve met; not consciously. I think you rob and steal and take little bits here and there but I just felt when I confronted Joe, I felt I knew him, you know?

On researching Bread and Roses in Tijuana and Juarez

It was amazing, going to Tijuana and Juarez and all these places along the border where they have all these maquila factories. What was remarkable about them, when you actually go to the factories, is that they’re state-of-the-art. I went to see one at Ford and they were making beautiful brakes and machines and all that. Then I met some of the grass roots organisers. I went to see where they lived. And the wooden pallets that brought in all this fancy machinery, that’s what they lived in. And they were working so many hours their children were just left to wander. It’s an experiment of absolute, totally unrelated brutal capitalism. They just work and then they’re dumped, there’s no infrastructure, there’s absolutely nothing, so there’s no surprise in a way that one aberration breeds another in Juarez. I don’t know how many thousands of women, literally, are murdered each year along the Juarez border.

They’re actually working so hard, doing double shifts, that at the weekends they go absolutely crazy. They go drinking. And often, because they don’t have enough money, they drift into prostitution. So after seeing all that, talking to these people, seeing their faces and seeing where they went, you have the confidence perhaps to try and write that and give them a voice.

Click here to see the 30 minute video.

Even the Rain

The book for Even the Rain is now available in paperback and Kindle editions. In the book Paul Laverty writes a detailed introduction which gives great insight into the 10 year development of this incredible story. Starting with the apporoach from Howard Zinn to grappling with how to tell the story, he’s trip to Bolivia and the efforts to get the film made. It’s quite a story in itself. Here’s a small extract from that introduction from Paul.

Around ten years ago the brilliant historian Howard Zinn got in contact with me after seeing a film called Bread and Roses, directed by Ken Loach and written by myself. He wondered whether I might be interested in writing a script inspired by the spirit of the first chapter of his iconic book A People’s History of the United States. I had a great passion for this book long before I met Howard and, in many ways, it was a dream come true to try and engage with a key moment in our history: the arrival of Columbus in the so-called New World. This is not the history of Columbus as the great discoverer, but instead it tells of what Columbus set in motion on his arrival among the Taino Indian population. The very first page of the book quotes from Columbus’s own log: ‘With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.’ This first chapter, and indeed the whole book, is a homage to the resistance of ordinary people fighting those who have tried to subjugate them in different ways throughout history.

Howard wrote in his introduction: ‘I don’t want to invent victories for people’s movements. But to think that history-writing must aim simply to recapitulate the failures that dominate the past is to make historians collaborators in an endless cycle of defeat. If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, occasionally to win. I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare. That, being as blunt as I can, is my approach to the history of the United States. The reader may as well know that before going on.’

Getting this film made has been a ten-year obsession, but the spirit of the above is what kept the effort alive during some very treacherous moments.

Howard helped enormously by sending me many of his own books for my research. It was a colossal effort to engage with the grand narrative and investigate what life was like five hundred years ago. To write a script, you don’t just need to know what happened but you have to smell it; you need to get under each character’s skin, and try to imagine what the world looked like from their point of view, whether it’s a Taino child who first saw a bald and exhausted sailor land from Spain, or a young Catholic priest facing a furious congregation of colonists as he preached in favour of Indian rights. Howard at last gave me one terrific piece of advice, ‘Stop reading. Start writing!’

I wrote the first versions as entirely period pieces, under the title Are These Men?, inspired by a question asked by a Dominican priest Padre Antonio Montesinos, who preached in March of 1511 in what was probably the first voice of conscience against the new Spanish empire. His denunciation of the mistreatment and murder of the indigenous population was passionate and brilliant: ‘Look into an Indian’s eyes. Are these not men? Do they not have rational souls? Are you not obliged to love them as yourselves?’ Such dangerous opinions probably cost Montesinos his life.

The next stage was one familiar to many writers: the day of the double emails. I opened them in order. The first was a delighted one from Howard saying the project had been approved, and if I remember correctly was budgeted at around eighteen million dollars with casting just about to begin. The sweet adrenalin rush lasted all of thirty seconds. The second email was a brief note from a subdued Howard. He didn’t understand the reasons, but the project had been cancelled.

Some characters don’t give up very easily, and I have to say that this is true of Padre Antonio Montesinos. He may have died five hundred years ago, but he never gave me any peace. There was such raw power in his sermon delivered from that simple straw church that it kept forcing itself to the surface over the next few years in between all the other projects I was developing with my friend Ken Loach.

Click here for more details on the book.

Even the Rain in Berlin

Even the Rain has won the audience award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Here is the acceptence note from the filmmakers.

IT IS A GREAT HONOUR TO RECEIVE THIS PRIZE FROM THE PUBLIC AND WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THEM ALL FOR THEIR SUPPORT.  WE WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK THE FESTIVAL FOR THE THEIR  HOSPITALITY AND EVERYONE INVOLVED FOR THEIR HARD WORK AND KINDNESS TO US.

ABOVE ALL WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE PEOPLE OF COCHABAMBA IN BOLIVIA WHO INSPIRED THE STORY.  MANY OF THEM FACED TEN YEARS AGO IN THE WATER WARS WHAT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS NOW FACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA.  ORDINARY CITIZENS SICKENED BY CORRUPTION AND POVERTY NOW RISK LIFE AND LIMB FOR BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS.  WE SALUTE THEIR COURAGE AND THE HOPE THEY GIVE US.

HOWARD ZINN,  THE HISTORIAIN TO WHOM THIS FILM IS DEDICATED, ONCE SAID, “NOT TO BELIEVE IN THE POSSIBILITY OF DRAMATIC CHANGE IS TO FORGET THAT THINGS HAVE CHANGED, NOT ENOUGH OF COURSE, BUT ENOUGH TO SHOW WHAT IS POSSIBLE. WE HAVE BEEN SURPRISED BEFORE IN HISTORY.  INDEED, WE CAN DO THE SURPRISING”

THANKYOU,

PAUL LAVERTY – WRITER
ICIAR BOLLAIN – DIRECTOR
JUAN GORDON – PRODUCER

EVEN THE RAIN also wins four Progressive Oscars, winning BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURE, BEST PROGRESSIVE FOREIGN FILM, BEST PORTRAYAL OF PEOPLE OF COLOR, and the highly prestigous BEST ANTI-FASCIST FILM. Click here for more details.