A Useful Life (image 1)

A distracted cinephile discovers the pleasures of real life in this charmingly droll comedy.

Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

Screened as part of NZIFF 2011

A Useful Life 2010

La vida útil

Directed by Federico Veiroj

What do you do when redundancy strikes and everything you know about life you learned from programming a Cinematheque? A love of movies connects to the world outside the cinema in this charmingly droll comedy.

Spain / Uruguay In Spanish with English subtitles
67 minutes B&W

Director

Screenplay

Inés Bortagary
,
Arauco Hernández
,
Gonzalo Delgado
,
Federico Veiroj

Photography

Arauco Hernández

Editors

Arauco Hernández
,
Federico Veiroj

Music

Leo Masliah
,
Macunaima
,
Eduardo Fabini

With

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

Festivals

Toronto, San Sebastián, Pusan 2010; Rotterdam 2011

Elsewhere

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