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Design for Living: Federico Vieroj’s “A Useful Life”

Design for Living: Federico Vieroj’s "A Useful Life"

Federico Vieroj’s pint-sized second feature, A Useful Life, runs only slightly over an hour, but the gauntlet it tosses at the feet of the cinephiles who are its most likely audience suggests a young filmmaker eager to grapple with the state of film culture (if gently and humorously—don’t expect Histoire(s) du cinema-level gravitas here). Vieroj’s modest attempt to check the pulse of serious cinephilia in the second decade of the 21st century (surprise: blood pressure is low!) manages to pull something like a manifesto out of its mangy character study and shaggy romance, one that, however muted its delivery, still should give anyone who spends part of each day in front of a screen alight with images reason for pause. A Useful Life may not be what you’d call vital, but it does signals that the current Latin and South American filmmaking renaissance has a pretty deep bench. Read Jeff Reichert’s review.

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