a film by Jacques Nolot
2007 | 108 mins | France
›› Before I Forget - Avant que j'oublie
the day-to-day life of an HIV positive former gigolo
Before I Forget by Jacques Nolot Beginning slow and staying that way, this the concluding part of Jacques Nolot's works on gay life details the day-to-day existence of HIV positive Pierre; an ailing former gigolo who denied a substantial inheritance from an ex-client, finds himself worrying about his financial security, along the way seeking advice from his psychiatrist and limited number of friends, that is when not paying for acts of sexual intimacy that he was once paid for.

Only is that truly all there is to this feature? Well for some it undoubtedly will be. Others however may see and in the words of the British Film Institute: "an uncompromising look at ageing and a response to a life filled with regrets." To that end, writer, director and star of the show Jacques Nolot delivers his custom dry outlook on life, in a film that is worlds apart from Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau's upbeat approach to living life the positive way, that was Drôle de Félix.

Before I Forget by Jacques Nolot For here we see Pierre chain smoking his life away, that is in between endless cups of coffee, meals out, rough sex, a desperate attempt to find a lost will, let alone a discussion on the price of rent boys, one that alternates between the sound of silence as he repetitively sits at his desk or walks from room to room in his battle with his demons, namely an answer to the question of whether or not life is still worth living?

That Nolot has a point to make about how society treats the elderly and their mental, physical and monetary requirements, together with the reality of over twenty years of drug therapy, is not in doubt. Only his character is filled with such inner loneliness, that his regrets of times past equate to a weary view of the present and of a future seemingly without hope. Thankfully there are fleeting glimpses of optimism to be had, even a few moments that offer a ray of light and in particular a conclusion that shows Pierre finally embracing his wild side. But in the main, this is an at times laconic and certainly contemplative to some, lacklustre to others, approach to life. And yet this also marks an all too rare example of the depiction of the sexual needs of an older gay man. That the result is not going to be to everyone's cinematic taste, goes without saying ... but then, how many films are?
screened as part of the 22nd London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2008
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue
starring: Jacques Nolot, Marc Rioufol, Jean-Pol Dubois, Bastien d'Asnières, Bruno Moneglia
Copyright 2008 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #191
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