A Useful Life

La vida útil

“A distracted cinephile discovers the pleasures of real life in this charmingly droll comedy.” — Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

Director: Federico Veiroj
Year: 2010
Country: Spain, Uruguay
Running time: 67 mins
Censor Rating: M
Genres: Cinephiles, Drama

Screenplay: Inés Bortagary, Arauco Hernández, Gonzalo Delgado, Federico Veiroj
Photography: Arauco Hernández
Editors: Arauco Hernández, Federico Veiroj
Music: Leo Masliah, Macunaima, Eduardo Fabini

In Spanish with English subtitles

B&W

With: Jorge Jellinek (Jorge), Manuel Martinez Carril (Martínez), Paola Venditto (Paola)

Festivals: Toronto, San Sebastián, Pusan 2010; Rotterdam 2011

Jorge has been devoted to his job at the Cinemateca in Montevideo for 25 years, and his cosy rut is neatly documented in the first half of this concise film. He wanders through the film library, tests and repairs broken seats, introduces tardy guest filmmakers, and struggles to drum up scant business on a local radio show. When drastic funding cuts threaten the closure of the institution, this professional crisis precipitates a charmingly mild personal revolution for Jorge. We observe him awkwardly negotiating life in the outside world with the subtle assistance of the many movie lives he’s experienced while effacing his own. This wry, melancholic film is slyly observed by second-time director Federico Veiroj, and graced with superb black-and-white chiaroscuro and an inventive soundtrack that juxtaposes old movie music with the raucous clatter of projectors and the monastic silence of libraries and archives. — AL

View the trailer on Flicks.co.nz

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