Maybe it is best for Gael Garcia Bernal to only star in movies with the word "también" in them (as with 2001's Y Tu Mamá También). Kind of like how Anthony Hopkins can only star in movies where he plays someone of the psychopathic variety. In the world of film, it is best to carve out a niche and defend it with the ferocity of a feral lynx, which is compulsorily what Garcia Bernal has done for himself. Bad Education, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Amores Perros are all, tonally speaking, in the same lurid vein. Even the movies Garcia Bernal has made in English echo a certain disdain for human nature, as with Babel and The Limits of Control, and now Icíar Bollaín's También la Lluvia (or Even the Rain for you unilingual fucks).
Perhaps some might view the film within a film concept as entirely overplayed (especially with regard to Spanish language films, generally directed by Pedro Almodóvar), but También la Lluvia so meticulously parallels the characters in the movie itself with the movie that Sebastian (Garcia Bernal) is making with the events that took place in Bolivia in 2000 that it almost seems impossible to envision the movie having any other structure. For those who cannot remember what happened last night, let alone eleven years ago in 2000, what became known as the Cochabamba Water Wars was the Bolivian people's response to multinational companies attempting to privatize water in the city of Cochabamba.
When Sebastian insists on casting Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri) as Hatuey, a rebellious leader of one of the Native American tribes Columbus' men oppresses, he goes against the warning of his producer, Costa, that Daniel's defiant nature will inevitably cause problems with the film. Costa is quickly proven correct when Daniel orchestrates a massive protest against the Bolivian government and its willingness to cooperate with multinational companies. After explicitly telling him not to participate in the demonstrations anymore, Costa even goes so far as to pay him off with ten thousand dollars. Contumacious until the end, Daniel goes through with the demonstration anyway, resulting in a severe police beating and imprisonment.
Determined to finish the movie at any cost, Sebastian and Costa "bail" (I use quotes around the word because it really just means bribe in most South American countries) Daniel out so that they can shoot their most important scene in which Hatuey is burned at the stake. Upon seeing Costa as he exits his overflowing prison cell, Daniel meets his stern gaze and says, "You don't understand. Water is life."
Once the cross-burning scene is shot, one is led to assume that Costa and Sebastian will be unconcerned with Daniel's well-being. However, we are immediately barraged with Costa's sentiment of caring and consideration when Daniel's wife begs Costa to accompany her to the latest protest, where their daughter, Belen (who also had a role in Sebastian's film), has been severely injured. In spite of every crew member abandoning the project, catching the next available plane out of Cochabamba, Costa, along with a distraught Sebastian, remains behind to view the successful results of the uprising.
In a final melancholic exchange between Daniel and Costa, Daniel gives him a parting gift in a hand-crafted wooden box that Costa does not open until he is being driven to the airport in a cab. When he sees that it contains a small vial of water, Costa utters softly to himself, "Yaku." The cab driver looks at Costa revelatorily in his rearview mirror, recognizing it as the native Quichua word for "water."