Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Before I Forget|
Actors: Jean-Paul Dubois, Jacques Nolot, Jean-Bernard Pommier, Marc Rioufol, Bastein d'Asnieres
Director: Jacques Nolot
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Gay & Lesbian
Jacques Nolot stars and directs a tale of a downward spiraling gay gigolo, struggling to cope with his advancing age, poverty, loneliness, writers block, and the increasing complications of HIV disease. When his wealthy be... more »
Thankfully Unromantic View of Aging & Sex, but Too Much of t
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 09/13/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Jacques Nolot wrote, directed, and stars in "Before I Forget", a frank look at the somber realities of aging for a gay Parisian man entering his twilight years. Pierre Pruez (Jacques Nolot) is 60 years old, having spent most of his life parlaying his good looks into income from older men. Now his patron of 35 years is dead, and it is Pierre who pays young men for sex. Swindled out of his inheritance, no longer desirable, with declining health from 24 years of HIV infection, Pierre visits old friends and young acquaintances to talk about men, money, life as it was and gripe about how it is now, as Pierre considers what exactly he is going to do and be a this point in his life.
I appreciate the unromantic view of aging and of the gay lifestyle. The men of "Before I Forget" are not interested in a same-sex version of bourgeois marriage. This is a relief after decades of the American media portraying gay men as innocuous and sexless to make them non-threatening to the middle class. As a woman, I empathize with Pierre's waning looks and desirability that translate into a loss of freedom and power with age. But Pierre is an idle, neurotic man whose friends have gotten too old, lovers gotten too expensive, and things are only going to get worse. The trouble is that we get the point quickly, and this film plods on for an hour and 40 minutes. Too much wallowing for too long.
The DVD (Strand Releasing 2008): The film is in French with English subtitles that cannot be turned off. The only bonus feature is a theatrical trailer (2 min), also subtitled."
Looking Back and Taking Stock
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 07/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Before I Forget"
Looking Back and Taking Stock
Strand Releasing's new film is going to be one of the big ones this year. "Before I Forget" is a look at a former Parisian hustler now in his sixties who looks back at his career and it will keep you thinking.
The film begins with a blank screen with a small dot at the center. The dot slowly expands into a black hole and it a stark image of the void or the nothingness that we encounter as we age. Pierre (Jacques Nolot) is the main character, now 60 and living alone in his Paris flat, and he looks at his future with ominous eyes. He has been HIV positive for 24 years and he has been told to take an aggressive drug cocktail instead of what he had been taking. He is reluctant to do so because of the side effects of the drugs. He still has his wonderful face and headful of hair even though his body is not what it once was.
Being a solitary gay man is not east for Pierre and the movie which relates his life looks at it unblinkingly. He has outlived his time on the street. He had been a male hustler and escort and had been kept by a man prominent in French society who has just died. Now he is doing what his johns did--having to pay for sex and he pursues this avidly even though it does not seem that he enjoys it. He had been the one getting paid and now the roles are reversed. He must now pay to be dominated and we get the feeling that he is punishing himself by using versions of his younger self. He has stopped looking for love and is content to have sex as long as it involves a financial transaction;
I understand that the film is biographical and Nolot nor only stars in it but also wrote and directed this film. The film follows Pierre as he visits with his friends--johns and hustlers, when he goes to psychiatric sessions with a rather strange psychiatrist and Pierre remembers how he received no inheritance from his former lover because the family shut him out of the will. In Pierre's mind, money has become the main issue now that he has reached his older years. Pierre is writing his memoir and we learned that he has attempted suicide on several occasions yet we do not see him as unhappy. He seems more melancholy and it appears that he has hope. He exudes an air of haughty independence but he also realizes that he cannot achieve the young men that he lustfully desires.
Nolot as Pierre is a grand old fossil. When we meet him first, he is feeling the effects of the death of Toutone, his sometimes lover. He walks the streets of Paris like a man returning from the dead, in a zombie-like state. But his conversations show no sentiment and they are frank. He talks about being older, AIDS, the price of sex.
The one criticism I have is that the film follows a formula--even though the film is radical and personal, it is predictable. We get a sense of a life that was lived in full but it is a narcissistic life yet it remains a film unlike any film I have ever seen. It is very personal and it hurts to watch someone waste his final years. The ending is somewhat of a surprise when Marc, Pierre's regular paid trick, dresses him in drag and takes him to Pigalle to dwell among the whores. Here a whole new Pierre emerges. We see him as hardened and past his good years but still defiant as he walks the sidewalk looking for a little fun for the evening. I do not think that some of what I saw in the film will leave me quickly. We do not like to face age and we are afraid of what it will bring. It's scary to think about it and watching Pierre as he faces it makes us remember that we are all headed in that direction.
A different perspective on aging
Blue | Washington, DC United States | 01/02/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Before I Forget" is a tough film to sit through. It is the unblinking chronicle of a 60-year gay man, Pierre Pruez, who has lived off his looks for many years and has reached the point of life where that is no longer possible. He also deals on a daily basis with the serious problems of HIV infection, loneliness and boredom. Because the filmmaker takes the viewer at length through the protagonist's daily life and routines to emphasize their present dreary states, the film often moves at a snail's pace. There is no possible redemption on offer here. Indeed, Pruez is reduced to streetwalking in drag in the film's final frames.
"Before I Forget" is unmistakably French in outlook and attitude (and language) and those are virtues, in my opinion. Interesting film, but not recommended for the depressed or morally squeamish."