It's a documentary about a Chilean couple whose younger wife supports her husband, who has Alzheimer's.
Augusto Góngora was a prominent journalist and later cultural commentator on Chilean Public Television, beginning with the Pinochet years and following. He has two children; the documentary says nothing about his first wife. He has been in a relationship with actress Paulina Urrutia since 1997; they married in about 2017, several years after Góngora was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
The documentary follows their interaction, especially during COVID-19, together with flashbacks to home movies and television clips from happier times when Góngora was practicing his profession. One of Góngora's post-Pinochet books reflected on cultural memories related to those difficult years. The documentary fashions a philosophical connection between the earlier cultural memory and the tragedy of Góngora's memory loss.
"The Eternal Memory" is a very personal movie. At first, I wondered if it was contrived reality TV, given the amiable manner in which the film initially portrays Góngora. But later, his confusion and increasing anxiety are plainly depicted. I'm not sure the memory linkage between Góngora's earlier professional life and later personal state is effective. But the film is gripping and is a challenging watch for people personally connected to someone with Alzheimer's Disease.
Reviewed by Drawmort6 / 10
Emotional but flat
In The Eternal Memory, there is a strong emotional charge from the first moment, which is maintained until the last seconds. This is the hook for the general audience, since emotionality is associated with relatable events. My biggest problem with this documentary is that the story loses its direction in monotony, falling into a plot dead end from which it cannot escape. It seems more like a video diary of the progression of one of the protagonists' illness, which also doesn't quite work, since there are inexplicable time jumps and events that remain unmentioned.
The documentary only relies on its high emotionality to attract an audience and there is nothing more to tell.
It's not completely flat and boring, but I would recommend other works alluding to the topic in question, such as the films Still Alice or The Father.
Reviewed by chenp-547088 / 10
Touching and Beautiful to Observe
Saw this at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival
"The Eternal Memory" is a story about Augusto and Paulina have been together for 25 years. Eight years ago, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Both fear the day he no longer recognizes her. The film was one of the best documentaries from this years festival as the film was able to capture the relationship between the couple with heartwarming sequences. Director Maite Alberdi was able to perfectly capture life of having Alzheimer's disease and was able to make the characters very interesting to observe. Alzheimer's disease is a disease that is difficult to cure and it's interesting to see a story revolving around a real couple going through this process and seeing how they are able to resolve their conflicts.
Many archival footages used to describe the setting and situations were purposeful and well informative. Many of the dialogue moments were very interesting as it was very fun to observe and listen to the two main lead characters to talk about their lives and love. Along with other participants, there are some many interesting conversations provided and the tone goes from sometimes comedic and touching at the same time. From someone who has a relative who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, the film does hit home pretty hard.
Overall, it's a great documentary and it's one of the best at Sundance.