What Now? Remind Me competes in Locarno
by Boyd van Hoeij
- Portuguese sound mixer and occasional producer and director Joaquim Pinto documents his own life in the poetic and touching What Now? Remind Me
The only Portuguese film in competition at this year’s Locarno Film Festival, currently underway, is What Now? Remind Me [+see also:
film profile], a very personal essay film from sound mixer and occasional producer and director Joaquim Pinto.
Pinto has been living with HIV and hepatitis for close to 20 years. He recently returned from the Azores, where he lived with his boyfriend Nuno Leonel, to the Portuguese mainland, where they try to look after a beautiful piece of semi-arid land, which, over the course of the film, suffers from an immense drought and is threatened by wildfires.
Just like their land is under attack, so is Pinto himself, who feels the diseases in his body need stronger medication. He has decided to regularly travel to Madrid to participate in a clinical trial of unapproved drugs.
The effects of the drugs are myriad and not all controllable. One gets the sense that part of the reason Pinto wanted to make the film is not only to document the process and use it as a video diary but especially to ensure that he doesn’t forget what he is going through, as he’s been having memory problems which seem to become worse because of the drugs (hence the evocative title).
Initially, Nuno isn’t interested in participating in the process but as Joaquim’s partner gets used to having the camera around all the time, he lets go of his inhibitions — to the extent that the 164-minute film features a hardcore scene of love-making about two hours in.
Rather than gratuitous, it underlines not only how much the men love each other but also that despite the illnesses and all the trouble they cause, Pinto is not ready to give up on life’s pleasures so easily.
The film was shot and edited by Pinto and Leonel, with Pinto himself handling the sound, which, rather than being extremely polished, has an evocative rawness to it.
What Now? Remind Me was produced by C.r.i.m. in co-production with Presente edições de autor Lda.
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