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 almost 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: Don’t Let Them Get Away With It
We Have an Issue: Don’t Let Them Get Away With It
It’s time to reckon with how our state governemnt failed us – and if it was by design

Feb. 26, 2021

Updated: Boil Water Notice Lifted for All Austin Water Customers
Updated: Boil Water Notice Lifted for All Austin Water Customers
Tap water now cleared for consumption

Feb. 22, 2021

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

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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