EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|WHISKY (directors/writers: Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll; screenwriter: Gonzalo Delgado Galiana; cinematographer: Bárbara Álvarez; editor: Fernando Epstein; music: Pequeña Orquesta Reincidentes; cast: Andres Pazos (Jacobo Köller), Mirella Pascual (Marta Acuña), Jorge Bolani (Herman Köller), Ana Katz and Daniel Hendler (young married couple from Argentina); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Fernando Epstein; The Global Film Initiative; 2004-Uruguay/Argentina/Germany/Spain-in Spanish with English subtitles)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An engaging deadpan comedy about
some dreary characters leading quietly desperate lives. It's
and written in a slyly appealing understated way by Juan Pablo Rebella
and Pablo Stoll ("25 Watts"). Gonzalo
Galiana contributes as cowriter. The droll comedy about opposite
brothers reuniting briefly to try to overcome their estrangement
reminds one of
the unique films by Jim Jarmusch and Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki.
The story is set in
Pazos) is a 60-year-old lonely and morose owner of a run-down sock
factory in Montevideo, he inherited from his father. He's nervous that his successful upscale
married younger brother, Herman
Bolani), whom he has lost
contact with after not seeing him in years, is flying in from his
residence in neighboring
Brazil to attend their mother’s
Jewish unveiling ceremony after missing the funeral a year ago. While
Jacobo's old-fashioned factory
is struggling to survive, Herman's modern one in Brazil is
booming with the latest Italian machines.
reasons he never reveals, gets his loyal, obliging and
uncomplaining spinster assistant, Marta
to agree to pretend to
married to him for the length of Herman's visit. Marta also never
reveals why she accepts this outrageous offer, which goes beyond her
is derived from when the photographer for the pretend newlyweds
and to get them to smile tells them to "Say whisky!".
visit is punctuated by the always cheerful Herman's guilt for
neglecting mom, and
to make up for his thoughtlessness he invites Marta and Jacobo to join
for a few
days in the uncrowded seaside resort of Piriapolis during the
off-season. That's the spot where the
brothers used to enjoy visiting as
children. Jacobo stays in character as a no fun sourpuss, Herman
is warm and easily befriends Marta, while Marta comes out of
her shell during the holiday trip and even begins to smile as she
imagines what happiness there could have been if she married.
Underneath the external calm between the siblings, we learn that Jacobo
still mad that his younger brother did not help him all the years when
he cared for
their invalid mother during her long illness.
It leads to a brilliantly conceived ending, about the trio in their own
special way trying to make sense out of their lives.
comedy is a winner in getting into the heads of the inarticulate
ordinary people, as its sparse dialogue only helps the
viewer get to know the three characters better by turning full
attention on them in order to try to figure out what motivates them.
That this work is meant to be more a comedy than a drama, might
surprise some viewers.
REVIEWED ON 8/13/2010 GRADE: A
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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