Avant que j'Oublie (Before I Forget) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Avant que j'Oublie (Before I Forget) Reviews

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½ July 1, 2009
Not being a professional reviewer, let me say what for many pro's was unsayable: BIF is an absolute stinker of a movie, an almost total dud.

'BIF is not an easy watch.' Boy, are you not kidding with that statement. As a moviegoer who likes to like movies, it takes a lot to have me eyeing the exit door during a movie or start to make a mental shopping list. However, this had negatives piling up and up as it went along its tedious way.

For a start it is almost completely flaccid in terms of narrative. Then if we look at it from the perspective of the observation movie of human-in-throes-of-existential-nightmare, it fails because the protagonist's character is so a) unlovable and b) essentially uninteresting. Much of the film saw Nolot's character pacing about at home, writing, sipping and smoking: this is not enough to draw the viewer into his world, his dilemma, his misery. Chain smoking does not equal pain. Even as metaphor for misery, constant sparking up doesn't remotely do it. Our man simply appears boring, therefore we are bored.

Our hero's friends are repellant too, but, I suspect, aren't meant to be. They present the homosexual at his most unappealing: superficial, self-absorbed and sex obsessed to a painful degree. The man who accepts payment for his services in terms of delivering a blow job is grim watching at the ethical and moral level. As a straight man, I wasn't remotely thrown out of stride by the the pretty gay frank sex, but to observe the moral and personal degregation of the receiver was interesting only to consider the utter awfulness of the remains of this supposed late Parisian demi-monde. If the film maker is not able to make capital out of such an exchange, and for me this auteur absolutely wasn't, then it only remains for the viewer to critically damn the film.

So, grimly unsympathetic characters, no narrative energy, rotten film.

And so to some of the reviewers hereabouts. Comments on the lighting and the visual presentation all round are laughable. The comment on the chiaroscuro of the naked protag making coffee (comparisons with Bacon, etc) are at best deeply mistaken, at worst, pathetic. Cinematographically, the film was unremarkable. The positive vote for the music was utterly hysterical: there WAS no music until a very late entry of some portentous orchestral navel gazing courtesy of Gustav Mahler. If this was intended to heighten the drama, it failed. Rather it only emphasized the fact that the failure of the film maker to leaven his drudgery represented a bsd mistake. One of the arts of great movie making is to present the awfulness of some folk's existence as tolerable, watchable, gripping even. This was existential predicament as something patently unwatchable, so utterly lame was it.

All this said, for our gay friends, the movie-going experience here may well have been absolutely absorbing and I would respect such a view totally. As a heterosecual, what do I know about how this film would reach into the emotional space of the homosexual? So let me qualify my conclusion. This was a monumentally wretched movie if you're straight. It's a shame that the liberal press (of which I remain a consumer, as a liberal) is in the grip of a moral cowardice. Why couldn't at least some of them pan this movie? Because no liberal intellectual in the present day dares to challenge the ridiculous iron grip of those who wield the sword of political correctness in the media.

Such is cultural life in the United Kingdom at the end of the first decade of the 21st century.

And yet, I was quite glad to have seen this movie. Only by watching the truly bsd can we wholly grasp the wonder of the truly great. I held fairly constant conversations with my pal during the movie, breaking my strict moral movie-going code, but this was the only way I could hold on for the last hour (Dan wanted to go for a beer and he isn't even much for drinking), but I was glad, for the above reason that I did. And there was one moment of high mirth. 'The only thing I'm interested in these days is suicide,' says Notot at one point. Oh, how we giggled. It isn't enough to mouth miserable words to emotionally engage the audience: our hilarity was in the director's complete failure to understand one of the obvious truths of film making.

RR
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
June 7, 2009
"Before I Forget" is a downbeat character study in narcissism about Pierre(Jacques Nolot, who also wrote and directed), who when younger relied solely on his good looks to get him through life. Nearing 60, the last 24 years HIV Positive, he now has to pay for sex with younger men instead of the other way around. In fact, after a lifetime relying on physical and economical connections alone, he is deeply lonely and a series of psychiatrists cannot help him with his depression. Plus, he is not sure if he wants to subject himself to a new triple drug regimen.
½ April 6, 2009
Filmmaking as an extension of therapy, engaging in the sort of self-centred soul-searching and hand-wringing that can (and does) get very tiresome very quickly. A little more breast-beating - some obvious passion - might have lifted it, but "Before I Forget" remains militantly undramatic: the protagonist takes leisurely lunches in nice bistros and cafes, and there's a lot more than anybody really needs of Nolot pottering around his flat, putting teabags in the bin and - eww - relieving himself in the sink. I'm no shrink, but I would have thought the following a useful guiding principle: if you don't want to end up alone in life, pee in the loo, and not on the crockery.
½ January 9, 2009
nice. the end saves it all.
December 19, 2008
Decent acting and writing does not prevent this film into an honest yet self indulgent mess of a movie.
½ November 3, 2008
Jacques Nolot directs himself in this bare and bold examination of the life of an old gay man who feels he has nothing to live for. The atmosphere of the movie is both subtle and intense at the same time, and the dialogue holds much interest. This is one of those movies where nothing seems to be going on, but afterwards is seems like a lot of things have been said and shown.
September 13, 2008
With any luck, the English title will attract and confound some young Slipknot fans. Only then will the term "rentboy" have any chance of entering the midwestern mallcore vernacular. Unfortunately, Nolot's unflinching film will probably never gain a large audience- even in gay community. This appears to matter little to him. This is more an exercise in near-masochistic self examination and soul searching. Although it is not entirely autobiographical, it takes a great deal of courage to reveal your worn body to the world as he does. He is refreshingly self deprecating and matter of fact about his characters' reliance on expected inheritances, empty, family-less existences and desperate attempts to cling to their pasts.

"Before I Forget" is essentially plotless, its strength lies in the well observed daily routines and its decision to use truly human characters instead of the trite caricatures so often found in gay-themed film. It's not a film to love, but one to keep in the back of your mind as your own twilight days begin to loom. Will you or I be able to lurch forward with the same quiet, public dignity as Nolot? Only time will tell.
August 10, 2008
An interesting and unsentimental mixture of the mundane and sublime in the everyday life of an ageing gigolo.
August 8, 2008
Pensive but never indulgent, Nolot's third film of a tryptic is meditative and poetic. The film waits and watches, like a waning breath, an aging rentboy grappling for meaning in his waning years. It is through the stillness that we begin to observe details - Nolot's frail body, his arthtritic limbs reaching for some sleeping pills, sagging eyelids hiding expressive eyes that search for meaning. The premise is rife with opportunities to indulge but Nolot doesn't let his character nor the characters around him remain in self-pity or loathing and audiences' patience with the slow pace will be rewarded with an experience quite unusual from the usual Hollywood fare. Honest, poignant and at turns funny, Nolot's journey is that of a reckoning, a reckoning of an aging whore - in all his glory.
August 8, 2008
I am thinking that I have no interest in this movie.
½ July 27, 2008
This film has a pretty irresistible premise--from the perspective of an aging rentboy, it answers the question, how do aging rentboys live in Paris?

Well, in this case, they try to maintain their health and their wealth. They hire rent boys and worry about staying in the wills of their former lovers.

I agree with some of the reviewers that there are a lot of inert shots and seeming digressions. But as others have pointed out, there aren't so many cinematic analyses of the aging queer, from the perspective of the aging queer, so I think that it's worth sitting through the long shots to get a sense of what this man's life is like.

I didn't really buy the drama around the lost inheritance. Pierre (played by and based on Jacques Nolot, the director) admits that he broke up with his former benefactor and doesn't seem to treat him very well. So I can't get that outraged about losing the inheritance. I don't really think people have a right to inherit anyway.

If there is a moral to the story, I think it's about the first rentboy we see in the film, who is also the last one we see. He seems to know Pierre well. He tells Pierre he wants to take him to the Pigalle. He, the rentboy, will be Pierre's pimp and Pierre will be in drag.

At the end of the movie, Pierre is chatting with someone (maybe it's his analyst) and concludes that what he would like is a witty, clever, attractive young man in his life. And then he calls up this first rentboy and they go to the Pigalle, Pierre in drag.

That final scene is wonderful. It's the first time we get music, and the music we get is over-the-top fateful/romantic. Pierre is in a dramatic black wig and a spiderwoman black dress. We get many long shots of her smoking a cigarette in the entryway to an x-rated film theater. The scene is to die for and worth the long pauses in the rest of the movie!

There are other little witty moments--discussions between the older men about the price of rentboys. 100 euros seems appropriate if they come to your place. And he has one service that seems to combine delivering groceries and sex! Paris is so civilized!
July 24, 2008
ignore the flixster synopsis--where do they get these f*$^ing morons? this movie is brilliant. the acting is great; subject matter hefty; most of all, title says it all. (so if you don't find time to see movie, at least think upon the title--fun!) kind of reminded me of the book i never finished reading The Denial of Death, which, imo, despite its pulitzer win, sucks ass. this movie says it far better. manage to stay awake (mebbe a coffee or three beforehand?), and you shall be rewarded. hint: schedule time for wine/whiskey/oysters afterwards (movie whets appetite).
½ July 23, 2008
"Death in Paris," and that's not meant as a favorable comparison to the 1971 Visconti film. So many of the takes are so distended and inert that one finds it hard to stay awake, as if on a long surveillance assignment with de minimis activity. Not to say that the subject is without interest, but it feels more like voyeurism than cinema.
½ March 23, 2008
Fell asleep about 1/3 through the film. Woke up in the last 20 minutes. Wish I had kept sleeping too.
March 19, 2008
first time I've left a movie theatre before the end of the movie...
½ March 11, 2008
This might have been good as a short film - 15 or 20 minutes max. But the director seems intent on boring his audience to death with drawn out scenes showing nothing. The intent is to demonstrate the emptiness and monotony of the main character's life - but we got that in the first few minutes of the film. There is an interesting topic here - the life of an older gay man who has failed to make any real connections and has instead filled his life with sex, the pursuit of money and self-conceit. But all the film succeeds in doing is alienating its audience.
March 3, 2008
IGay man at old age it's not a common topic in cinema and not a very common topic in general. It's interesting the way the director/screenwriter/actor makes a reflexion about this.
March 2, 2008
Retrato contemplativo y despojado de un portador de VIH, por obra y gracias del autor total (guionista/director/actor) frances Jacques Nolot. Brillante y audaz en la filmacion de escenas sexuales. A notar justamente la vida sexual de un adulto mayor y su franqueza ante la prostitucion.
January 20, 2008
Es que el deseo nunca se acaba. El amor menos. A que precio "vives"? cuando te salvan los chochos?

Love, desire, HIV, AIDS, how much you wana pay for be "alive", how much pills you wana take? How long wana wait until die? How much wana pay for "feel" and have company? How much?
December 29, 2007
d'accord,un film francais...ou est LIZ???
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