Review: Three (3) (2012)


Director: Pablo Stoll | 122 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Humberto de Vargas, Sara Bessio, Anaclara Ferreyra Palfy, Néstor Guzzini, Matías Ganz

The Uruguayan film duo Pablo Stoll and Juan Pablo Rebella, often affectionately referred to as’ the two Pablo’s’, received worldwide acclaim for their debut film ’25 Watts’ (2001) and its sequel, ‘Whiskey’ (2004). Within Uruguay there was a jubilant response to these young filmmakers who gave the hitherto hardly existing national cinema a shine and held up a mirror to the country in terms of content. Their planned third film, aptly named ‘Tres’ (3), was put aside after Juan Pablo Rebella’s tragic suicide in 2006. Now, six years later, the film has been made, although without Rebella, but with the help of screenwriter Gonzalo Delgado Galiana and with the clear signature of the director duo. For the third time Stoll (now called Stoll Ward) has produced a fine film about three,

Protagonists and carriers of a different perspective of the film are the sixteen-year-old adolescent student Ana and her divorced parents Graciela and Rodolfo. Ana and Graciela lead a regular life and although they are each busy in their own way to give a twist to life, they are closed to each other. They find a rapprochement when they watch a soap opera on television together in their pajamas at night. Busy Graciela is at work or in the hospital where her childless aunt is waiting for the approaching end. In the waiting room she experiences a flirtation with a man who looks a lot like her ex: Ana’s remarried father Rodolfo. Rodolfo, the third player in the story, is a footballing dentist with a great love for his plants. He has remarried but lives completely past his new wife,

Ana is in the middle of the transition from girl to woman and falls out of her role as the dutiful schoolgirl she was until then. She wants music, a tattoo, a man; in short, tension outside its protected world. Graciela’s still handsome looks are hidden under the grind of her existence as a single mother and caring for her aunt. When she meets a sweet man in the waiting room of the hospital and puts her lips red again for the first time in years, she blossoms completely. After a failed second marriage, Rodolfo tries to find salvation in the first and to bond with his daughter. Ana accepts, empties her father’s wallet when he is not looking and is very happy to receive a new cell phone from him. Rodolfo tries to fix what broke,

The reunification is not exactly smooth sailing, but that is not the end goal of the film either. Traditional families are an illusion in the world of the two Pablo’s. Children are generally left to their own devices in the films, adults are actually doing something and the elderly are often more of a burden than lust for their younger relatives. And yet the films are very much about family. Brothers, grandmothers, mothers, fathers, children, aunts: every family member comes along and the characters are ultimately at the mercy of each other. Where family is about the past and its acceptance, ‘Tres’ is also about that. The past of the filmmakers, of the characters and of Uruguay as a country. Not only do actors who have been in previous films come back (the slow Javi from ’25 Watts’ is now Ana’s history teacher, for example), there is also plenty of dancing and listening to music. The changes that do exist are subtle; step by step, everyone releases from their old self at their own pace and choreography. Shards are glued. Uruguayan cinema is more colorful than ever.

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