A Useful Life (NC)

Starring: Jorge Jellinek, Paola Venditto

This black-and-white Uruguayan miniature would make a great double bill with Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show.

It is an elegy to old-school cinema, with a twist. Jorge Jellinek (like a docile cousin of Alfred Molina) plays the programmer at a Montevideo arthouse that's being closed down through lack of funding. Wandering through the city in a near-fuguelike state, Jorge begins to reconnect with the stuff of life: a haircut, an impromptu try-out as a college lecturer, and a conversation with a young academic (Paola Venditto). Federico Veiroj observes this lost cinephile with a gently indulgent eye, though his judgement on him is double-edged: a love of movies is no substitute for engaging with life.

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