Take Five

Recommended at Cine las Americas

<i>La Vida Útil</i>
La Vida Útil

2) 'La Vida Útil'

At first, the days and nights of soft-spoken film programmer Jorge (played by Jorge Jellinek) seem to be devoted exclusively to running an underfunded repertory screening house in Uruguay: wrangling finances, snarfing down takeout in the projection booth, taping translations to audiocassette to run alongside the night's feature. Then we see him nervously wave a woman named Paola (Paola Venditta) into a show at no cost and later, alongside a wall decorated with Eadweard J. Muybridge's iconic The Horse in Motion, he paces thoughtfully in silhouette. Finally, he emerges into light and practices his pickup to empty air: "Wanna go for a coffee?"

When the Cinemateca abruptly closes, Jorge is a man stripped of his life's work. Ah, but the movies haven't abandoned him. La Vida Útil (A Useful Life) loosens here from a mostly fixed camera to a suddenly spry, playful thing, with Eduardo Fabini's score cycling through genre-movie tropes as Jorge wanders around town and tries on personae. It's as if, quite charmingly, he's decided after so many years in the dark of a theatre that it's time to top-bill in his own movie. At the barbershop, he's a gunslinger, staring down his briefcase; at the wishing well, he's all Nouvelle Vague, making faces at the fish; at the university, he's suddenly Fred Astaire, gliding up and down the steps as he waits for his would-be inamorata to get out of the class. He's a natural.

Tuesday, April 26, 6:30pm, Alamo South Lamar

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Kimberley Jones
We Have an Issue: Best of Austin: Restaurants Finalists Announced
We Have an Issue: Best of Austin: Restaurants Finalists Announced
Vote now!

Aug. 5, 2022

We Have an Issue: Some Stories
We Have an Issue: Some Stories
Mama Duke on the cover, plus an in-depth look at what went wrong at Front Steps

July 29, 2022

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle