The Eternal Memory

A love story that you easily can’t forget.

“The Eternal Memory” is a Chilean documentary, about a happy couple, who have dated for 20 years, and finally walked down the aisle. The husband is named Augusto Góngora, and he was a celebrated journalist, dedicated to keeping the memories about the evils of the Pinochet dictatorship alive. And the wife is named Paulina Urrutia-nicknamed Pauli, and she is an actress and a former Minister of Culture and Arts.

Unfortunately, years ago, during their relationship, Augusto has been diagnosed with Alzeimer’s disease, and Pauli has been dedicated to taking care of him. She reminds him about who he is, who she is, who is in his family, what he has done, and what their loves means to each other. It’s a challenge, but it’s their love that helps them get through it.

There’s a scene in the movie when Augusto begins to collapse emotionally because he thinks he lost all his books, while Pauli assures him that he still has a library of books he has collected over the years. He doesn’t want to lose his books, and wishes his disease could go away. Listen to the sincerity and emotions presented here in the forms of tears.

There are also flashbacks of his televised reports on what has happened in Chile, and how he needs to make sure people are still conscious about it.

Alzeimer’s disease is no laughing matter, because losing your memories is unspeakable and unimaginable. I’ve had an aunt (rest her soul), who suffered from the disease. I wasn’t in the same room when she was suffering through it, but I could still relate to the challenges Augusto and Pauli have gone through.

I wish “The Eternal Memory” could have been a little longer (running at 84 minutes) so we can dig deeper inside their lives, but it does acknowledge their love and commitment to each other. And it’s also poignant the way Pauli helps Augusto move forward with his life, despite his memory depletion. Writer/director Maite Alberdi, who also made the Oscar-nominated doc “The Mole Agent,” knew these well-known people quite well, and was eager to make a documentary about their love story. It’s a real love story. It’s not a commercial love story with cliches. It’s a love story that reflects on life and what it can unfold.

This true story features characters we’d like to identify with and can identify with. It’s mostly about how kindness and love can overcome any obstacle. It’s dreadful that there are some couples whose marriage gets destroyed by a disease or condition, and I hate to imagine such people. You have to help someone get through whatever it is they are suffering from.

“The Eternal Memory” should be a wake-up call for those who need a reminder on why love and marriage should be equal partners. And if I’m annoying you with the “love” comments, I apologize. But Augusto and Pauli are lovebirds you should be supporting. Don’t let this small doc slip your mind.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

This article was written by me with full support of the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes.

Playing In Select Theaters Throughout the Month

Beginning this Weekend in New York.

Categories: Documentary, Foreign

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