A Chilean journalist struggles to hold onto his identity as he suffers from Alzheimer's in The Eternal Memory. Augusto Góngora was one of the most important journalists in Chile, covering important events in the country's history. In the late 1990s, he began a relationship with Paulina Urrutia, a well-known actress who became Chile's first Minster of Culture. For the past eight years, Augusto has been struggling with Alzheimer's and Paulina helps her husband try to remember the man he was and still is.
The Eternal Memory Synopsis
The Eternal Memory is a documentary directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Maite Alberdi (The Mole Agent). The film opens with the main subject Augusto Góngora in bed, as his wife Paulina tries to explain her relationship to him. Throughout his struggle with Alzheimer's, Augusto has good days where he can remember, as well as some bad episodes where he walks around confused at night. Augusto's current struggle is contrasted with archival and home movie footage showing who he was as a younger man.
My Thoughts on The Eternal Memory
Alzheimer's has proven to be a deliberating disease that essentially tricks someone of their identity. The condition has been a source of drama in films such as Still Alice and the Oscar-winning The Father, as well as being featured in other documentaries such as Spirit Unforgettable and Alive Inside.
The Eternal Memory is ultimately a film about the 25-year relationship between Augusto Góngora and Paulina Urrutia, with the film frequently utilizing home movie footage from the beginnings of their relationship in 1999. Even though Augusto is slowly forgetting who he is, Paulina remains dedicated to his side.
The Eternal Memory ends up being a tearjerker of a documentary, especially through some tough-to-watch scenes late in the film, as Augusto's Alzheimer's worsens and he completely forgets who Paulina is for the entire course of the day. However, despite these tough moments, Paulia still wants to be with the man she loves. The film is a testament to the wedding vows to stay together in sickness and health, especially since it is revealed that Augusto and Paulina only recently got married, after his diagnosis.
While The Eternal Memory is a testament to unwavering love, the film does conclude on a bittersweet note. It becomes apparent that it is only a matter of time before Augusto Gongoro is completely stripped of his identity. When that time comes, there would only be hours and news footage and home movies to show the man he once was.