The Eternal Memory movie review (2023)
In the 2020 documentary “The Mole Agent,” directed by Chilean filmmaker Maite Alberdi, an elderly investigator is placed in a nursing home to uncover potential abuse. The senior facility residents believe they are part of a documentary, leading to ethical questions about the filmmaker’s approach. Alberdi’s new documentary, “The Eternal Memory,” offers a more intimate exploration of Alzheimer’s disease and its impact on the lives of Augusto Góngora, a former television newscaster, and his wife Paulina Urrutia, an actress.
Despite my personal aversion to Alzheimer’s due to familial experiences, I’ve realized that the framing of a documentary, much like in fiction, is crucial for resonating with audiences. Alberdi frames this film around Góngora’s journalistic ethos, a man who reported on abuses during the Pinochet regime and continued seeking the truth afterward. This theme gains poignancy given his personal battle with Alzheimer’s.
Filmed mostly during the Covid pandemic, the documentary relies on Urrutia’s camera work, contributing to its intimate feel. Alzheimer’s not only erases memories but also confuses sufferers about their surroundings and actions. The documentary captures painful moments, raising questions about the ethics of observing such experiences. Without narration, we follow Góngora’s journey, gradually learning about his relationship with Urrutia through archival footage. The film’s focus on his degeneration raises profound questions about identity and values when faced with cognitive decline.
Playing in theaters now, “The Eternal Memory” offers a poignant exploration of Alzheimer’s impact on a remarkable mind and soul.
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