Director: Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll

Uruguay-Argentina-Germany| 2004. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 99min.

A slow-burn, wonderfully droll study of two co-workers who barely communicate but whose lives are decisively altered by chance, Whisky put Uruguay on the cinematic map when it won two prizes at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Set in a deliberately depopulated Montevideo, the film first establishes the unchanging daily rituals of its central characters: Jacobo Koller (Andres Pazos), the gravely serious owner of a tiny sock factory, and Martha (Mirella Pascual), his trusted manageress. Both characters are desperately lonely but unable to articulate their feelings, having withdrawn into routines of virtual silence. Happily, co-directors Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll engineer a welcome surprise that forces Jacobo and Martha out of their routines and into a more promising future. Superb performances and understated direction make for something of a minimalist masterpiece.

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