Before I Forget  {Avant que j’oublie}

Before I Forget
Avant que j’oublie

France, 2007, 108 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Aging / Elders, Drama, Gay, Sex Work
Program: World Cinema
Language: French

DIRECTOR: Jacques Nolot

Jacques Nolot’s frank and blackly humorous film opens in a cemetery, where two men list good reasons to be buried there: “We’ll be in peace. You’ll stop making scenes. The pigeons won’t shit on us.” One of them is Pierre, a pushing-60 former Parisian gigolo and blocked writer whose wealthy protector has died after a 35-year relationship. Pierre was bequeathed valuable artwork and property but, through a combination of paranoia and shortsighted petulance, has helped to nullify his inheritance.
Pierre is torn between regret for the actions of his youth and the looming need to prepare for old age. HIV-positive for 24 years, he is sleepless with nausea and anxiety but resists the recommended triple-drug therapy because he fears his silvered, still-handsome hair may fall out. Now paying for sex himself — one drily humorous exchange has him comparing his outlay with that of a more prosperous friend for the same hustler — deep down Pierre just doesn’t want to die lonely.
In the third film of his semiautobiographical trilogy on gay life (Hinterland, 1998; Porn Theater, Frameline27), Nolot himself plays the elegantly whiny Pierre, who tells his troubles to anyone who will listen — even to a bailiff coming to collect on a departed lover’s parking tickets. An understated but powerful lament on the consequences of a life of rough tradeoffs, Before I Forget was chosen by Cahiers du cinéma as one of the ten best pictures of 2007. — FRAKO LODEN



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