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Before I Forget More at IMDbPro »Avant que j'oublie (original title)

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39 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

Drier than dry

Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California
26 October 2007

Another Cannes 2007 Directors' Fortnight film, Jacques Nolot's latest continues a distinctive body of work in which an apparently dry, ironic, openly gay French point of view predominates. Nolot himself, a rather handsome Mediterranean type in his late fifties, stars as Pierre, a blocked writer, former gigolo, HIV-positive for 24 years (which seems rather unusual), reveals himself starkly in dark opening scenes where he tosses and turns, vomits, and exhibits a sagging chest and protruding belly. (He still has all his hair and a tan and looks stylish in his clothes.) He pees into the sink and orders up a call boy for fellatio. All this is surprisingly elegant and even witty as the film progresses from conversation to conversation, cigarette to cigarette in a diaristic look at the artist as a jaded gay man who sees one friend who's maintained him for years die, another inherit a fortune in art work, and arranges at the end with a muscular gigolo to act out his wildest fantasy.

Pierre sees a shrink three times a week--a younger gay man who encourages him to go with younger gay men, believing it will give him a boost. Nolot is frank about his own sexuality, which seems to be of a well-off bourgeois kind, but he doesn't show gay society as we know it in America. Where are the gay parties, gay bars, gay couples, or even just gay support groups? The solidarity available to urban gay men in the US seems missing here, where French gays have full intellectual self-acceptance but don't seem to envision the possibility of a positive lifestyle--of political action, for example, longtime companionship, adoption (or fun?). Depressed coping is the rule of the day. To what extent is Nolet/Pierre's aloneness self-imposed? There is also a fascination with money, who has it, how to get it, how to keep it. One sequence given climactic position is of the auction where the big art collection is sold off.

Pierre talks about considering suicide. Life is a string of cigarettes, or cups of coffee taken with a world-weary air. Pierre copes, but he does not thrive. Where are life's enthusiasms? All in the past, it seems. He reads aloud a love letter from the Eighties with slightly tearful wistfulness. Lost perhaps in the hedonism of a vanished youth, he can't get a positive grip on the present, but won't let it go either. This is a very urbane and European treatment of a life that's been reduced to mechanical coping. But isn't it a bit of a pose, since Nolet has the energy to produce a distinctive sequence of works--to act in 65 films and direct four of his own--the 1986 Manège, the 1998 Arrière-Pays, the 2002 La Chatte à deux têtes,/Porn Theater, which had limited US distribution; and this, which, "low-budget" or no, did cost 400,000 euros to make?

Avant que j'oublie/Before I Forget: seen at MK2 Hautefeuille, Paris, October 2007. Also featured at the even more art-house-focused MK2 Beaubourg, where handsome large posters of Nolot's last three films are on display.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

In the bars, you're old at 40.

Author: lastliberal from United States
27 January 2009

Like Pierre (Jacques Nolot), I know how difficult it is to get up in the morning and start your day. The hanging flesh a reminder of your advancing age and the splendid youth that is just a fading memory.

Pierre is not a happy, or likable man. He sleeps a lot during the day on a ratty couch, bemoans the lovers who have left him, and has no one to relate to as he awaits the cemetery plot he has already chosen. Life is just endless cigarettes and coffee. When visiting with friends they moan about money and constantly complain. He is reduced to paying for sex, which just serves as a reminder of his lost youth.

He refuses to increase his HIV treatments because he will lose his hair and "have the face of an Auschwitz victim." Depressing, but a fine performance by Nolot.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A pretentious, self centered bore without a single likable character

Author: bubsy-3 from NYC, NY
29 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was eager to watch "Before I Forget" given the favorable reviews that I had read. I missed seeing the movie when it was screened in NYC, so I purchased it on DVD. After watching it, I have to say that I'm glad I missed the NYC screening.

The plot has been summed up by another reviewer so I don't need to go into details about the plot. My problem with this movie, however, was that I didn't like the main character. He came across as self centered, one dimensional, and uncaring... bitter, but not willing to look at any options.

Perhaps, as another reviewer pointed out, gay society in France has fewer supports than gay society in the US or other countries. That might explain the main characters feelings and emotions. But it doesn't change my feelings about the movie.

I watched "Before I Forget" on DVD after watching "Paranoid Park", "City of Men" and "3:10 to Yuma". I would gladly sit through any of those movies again (and I don't particularly like Westerns) than watch "Before I Forget" again.

As I said in my summary, I found this movie to be a "Pretentious, self centered bore without a single likable character"

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Stays With You

Author: donwc1996 from United States
9 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I walked out of this film when I sat down to watch it the first time but my film bud told me later that the star also wrote and directed and was a big star in France. That intrigued me so I sat down again to watch the film and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I could not stop thinking about it primarily because I wondered how a famous French movie star would make such a personal statement about his own life which apparently he does in this film. First off, he's gay, but more than that he's an old gay guy past his prime who gets off with hustlers. This was shocking enough on its own but put in a larger perspective you have to wonder how many guys are just like him and if their lives are as bleak as the life depicted here. Yet, there was such a touch of humanity in the film that I really related to the guy even though I found his entire situation not just sad but tragic. Ultimately, I realized his life is empty because he has not risen above his basic carnal desires to achieve a higher state of being which can only be done either through faith or some philosophy.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Older Gay Men should watch this

Author: Ron English ( from United States
18 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I can relate to the main character as an aging Gay male. Although I "escaped" HIV + the main character shows us what it must be like to be aging, remember youth and having AIDS. Although he is bitter in life and can find no outlet for his emotions rather than depending on a "shrink," I think he portrays what many men feel as they age.

The younger men cannot relate to how the main character feels because that is what life does is teach us. Then, we age and we learn our lessons. Sadly, we cannot pass these learning experiences on to the others. Life simply doesn't work that way.

I would watch the movie again as it has a message for all of us to learn.

In a way I think the film is very reflective of French Existentialism.

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