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All the Small Things: Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll’s “Whisky”

All the Small Things: Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll’s "Whisky"

I know little about the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, the tiny nation of a few million people that produced filmmakers Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll. Casual research suggests that Uruguay continually ranks high on quality of life metrics, features little of the political corruption that plagues other Southern American nations, has a strong economy (though one hit by the same downturns plaguing the rest of the world of late), and wide personal freedoms. Middle-class boys with movie dreams sprouting up from a middle-class country most would be hard-pressed to locate on a map are not necessarily the stuff of cinematic legend; this pair didn’t exactly emerge fully formed onto the festival circuit from, say, the far-off expanse of the Kazakh steppes carrying heavy, exotic cultural baggage in film canisters. The two low-key films Rebella and Stoll made together, 25 Watts (2001) and Whisky (2004), exist in largely anonymous urban spaces; even though the pair has been touted as leaders of new Uruguayan cinema (a notion which Stoll rejects), their films feel almost as if they could have been made anywhere—but this isn’t a criticism. Their choice to put their own spin on a recognizable brand of cinematic grammar employed by filmmakers around the globe—stringent in its camera movements, dry in its humor—suggests at least, that Uruguay’s capital has some good video stores. Read Jeff Reichert’s entry in Reverse Shot’s American All-Stars symposium.

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