Last year I put the Uruguayan movie Whisky on my top-10 list and voted for it and its lead actress, Mirella Pascual, in many film polls, including Film Comment's and the Village Voice's. With impeccable precision, Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll's sophomore feature sets a dedicated romantic next to a depressive's withered and miserly soul (in understated yet glossy color — so many gorgeous royal blues). Just for its mordant look at a business run with out-of-date machinery, I hoped in print that it would get a Bay Area theatrical run.
Now Whisky has a San Francisco play date, at this year's SF Jewish Film Festival. Rebella and Stoll's film is screening at the Castro on July 24 — a little less than three weeks after Rebella committed suicide at his apartment in Montevideo. Looking at Whisky again with this knowledge was painful. The deep loneliness and sadness that run like a river beneath much of the movie's surface humor were already evident, and now they are fully exposed. But if you love life and cinema, you should see this great film in that great theater. Rebella and Stoll are true talents, and even before this month, the final moments of the former's last finished work came across as a rare, pure vision of heartbreak. (Johnny Ray Huston)