"...an elegy to cinephilia and the lives less ordinary keeping it on life support..." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
After twenty-five years, Cinemateca Uruguaya’s most devoted employee, Jorge (real-life Uruguayan critic Jorge Jellinek) still finds his inspiration in caring for the films and audiences that grace the seats and screen of his beloved arthouse cinema. But when dwindling attendance and diminishing support force the theater to close its doors, Jorge is sent into a world he knows only through the lens of art and suddenly forced to discover a new passion that transcends his once-celluloid reality. Stylishly framed in black-and-white with brilliantly understated performances, Federico Veiroj’s sly and loving homage to the soul of cinema is a universally appealing gem and knowing charmer about life after the movies.
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A quiet human portrait, specially recommended for devoted cinephiles. Makes its points without effort, subtly and beautifully.
The first half of "A Useful Life" reminds us of the endangered state of the "traditional" film experience -one with reels of celluloid, delicate projectors, and real seats in real theaters. But far from an admonishment or a simple act of futile nostalgia, the film becomes exactly what it celebrates: cinema magic. The shift in tone and subject in the second half is surprising, rewarding, and delightful.