Directed by Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll
“Whisky” is what Uruguayans say instead of “cheese” to force a smile for a photo.
It is a perfect title, as the characters in this film are surely among the most miserable ever to be captured on film.
Apprehensive of the visit of his more successful brother Herman, Jacobo, the worn down owner of a struggling sock factory, persuades his near-mute assistant Marta to pose as his wife.
The film opens with a three times repeated opening of Jacobo’s ramshackle sock factory — shutters, lights, and machinery forming an almost musical introduction to his desperately boring life.
Beautifully understated comic performances exploit a seam of wit just below the surface.
The barely spoken animosity between the brothers is a joy. Both brothers own sock factories, but Herman’s socks are colourful and Jacabo’s are dull.
The development of Marta’s relationship with each brother is also fascinatingly bizarre, more so for being told almost entirely in gestures.
This is a wonderful film — but aside from a couple of euphoric, whirlwind moments, Whisky is deliberately, absurdly slow-moving.
But given time and thought, the veneer of dullness is blasted away to reveal a memorably clever and subtle work.