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Useful Life

A Useful Life

La Vida Útil

Federico Veiroj

  • Country: Uruguay
  • Year: 2010
  • Language: Spanish
  • Producer: Federico Veiroj
  • Executive Producer: Federico Veiroj
  • Screenplay: Inés Bortagaray, Gonzalo Delgado, Arauco Hernández, Federico Veiroj
  • Runtime: 67
  • Programmes:

Jorge has been working at the Cinematheque in Montevideo, Uruguay, for 25 years. Its imminent closing forces him to take drastic steps and become the star of his own life. Shot in black and white, A Useful Life is an entertaining homage to a life of film.

IdentityLatin AmericaRomance

screening times

    • Saturday September 11
    • 6:45:00 PM
    • AMC 5
    • Sunday September 12
    • 1:00:00 PM
    • AMC 5
    • Saturday September 18
    • 7:30:00 PM

Note: indicates Premium Screening.

official description

Federico Veiroj’s thoughtful and delicate second feature contemplates the value of outmoded occupations with this evocative (and alarming!) depiction of life at the end of a cinematheque. It marks a departure from his celebrated debut Acne, but for anyone who loves cinema in its purest form, this film will be a revelation.

Jorge is crushed when the closure of the cinema cathedral where he works becomes imminent. Dwindling attendance numbers, lack of budget and an eviction notice all become insurmountable when the foundation that has financed the theatre for years withdraws its support. Their new policy is to fund only those cultural activities that turn a profit. But Jorge has spent twenty-five years working at the cinematheque and knows little else. Veiroj details the daily and varied film house activities wonderfully – selecting, projecting and introducing films, programming retrospectives and cultivating an audience. Giving the film even greater authenticity, the enigmatic Cinemateca Uruguaya director Manuel Martínez Carrilo plays himself.

The story veers in a new direction once the cinema has closed and, for the first time, we see Jorge travelling through Montevideo. Although he is overwhelmed by the prospect of having no profession or purpose, Jorge decides to take charge and become the protagonist of his own film. Once again, cinema provides meaning for this true believer in the moving image as he searches for a love interest, determined to take her to the movies.

Shot in luscious black and white, A Useful Life illustrates the difficulties of maintaining cultural institutions in developing countries. Although the story that Veiroj tells is fiction, it is true that the Cinemateca Uruguaya is beleaguered by financial woes. The film is also at heart a love story, dedicated both to Jorge and to cinema. Veiroj uses music that evokes the silent era to breathe life into Jorge’s adventure outside of the film house. It adds to the air of nostalgia that permeates the film.

Diana Sanchez

director bio

Federico Veiroj was born in Montevideo, Uruguayand studied social communications at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay. Hehas directed several acclaimed short films, including As Follows (04), which screened at the Festival. His feature filmmakingdebut, Acne (08), had its NorthAmerican premiere at the Festival. AUseful Life (10) is his second feature.

full credits

Principal Cast: Jorge Jellinek, Manuel Martínez Carril, Paola Venditto
Federico Veiroj
Executive Producer:
Federico Veiroj
Arauco Hernández
Arauco Hernández, Federico Veiroj
Raúl Locatelli, Daniel Yafalián
Leo Masliah & Macunaíma, Eduardo Fabini
Production Designer:
Emilia Carlevaro
Production Company:
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