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When his long-lost brother resurfaces, Jacobo, desperate to prove his life has added up to something, looks to scrounge up a wife. He turns to Marta, an employee at his sock factory, with whom he has a prickly relationship. Written by
Humorous take on surviving in threadbare contemporary Uruguay
Droll, understated comedy that also works as an allegorical account of the general state of affairs in Uruguay these days. Jacobo Köller (Andres Pazos) runs a small, down at the heels sock factory in Montevideo. He's an avoidant, depressive, aging bachelor who had taken care of his ailing mother for years until her recent death.
Now it is time for her Matzeivah (a ceremony at which a tombstone is placed on her grave), and Jacobo is obliged to invite his younger brother Herman (Jorge Bolani), who moved north years earlier to Brazil, where he has a wife and family and runs a highly successful sock factory.
For reasons never made clear, Jacobo feels he must pretend to be recently married. He imposes on the long suffering Marta (Mirella Pascual), who is his forewoman at the sock factory, to act the role of his spouse.
Set against the mind-numbing routines of Jacobo and Marta's dull lives, Herman arrives like a Spring breeze. He's energetic, upbeat, full of corny jokes, even vaguely seductive toward Marta. At his insistence, the trio venture on hour east for a couple of days to the seaside resort of Piriapolis, on the so-called Uruguayan Riviera.
Like the run down neighborhood, household and factory inhabited by Jacobo, Piriapolis has also seen better days. The threesome represent about half the audience at a pathetic nightclub where the lead singer is a 12 year old. The only other guests at the hotel seem to be a hick couple of honeymooners from the sticks.
Near the end of his visit, Herman gives Jacobo an envelope of cash, guilt money to make up for never having helped care for their mother himself. He urges Jacobo to replace his out of date sock making machines. Jacobo instead tries to blow it all in the casino but fails: in fact, he wins big!
Not too many years ago Uruguay was a thriving, economically successful nation, but, not unlike Jacobo and his shabby factory, messy apartment and old car that won't start, it's a place that has fallen on hard times, while its larger neighbors Argentina to the west and Brazil to the north (represented by Herman), have, relatively speaking, become vibrant economic giants. The film does portray this larger surround in which the characters work out their individual destinies.
"Whisky," by the way, is the word that the photographers ask the somber Jacobo and Marta to say to evoke grins for their "wedding" picture, like our proverbial "cheese." "Whisky" is one of 10 recent films from developing nations touring in the "Global Lens 2005" series. (In Spanish) My rating: 7/10 (B). (Seen on 04/02/05). If you'd like to read more of my reviews, send me a message for directions to my websites.
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