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Review: La Memoria Infinita. The truest love on screen

  • Release year: 2023
  • Director: Maite Alberdi.
  • Producers: Maite Alberdi, Rocío Jadue, Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín and Andrea Undurraga.
  • Editor: Carolina Siraqyan.
  • Cinematographer: David Bravo and Pablo Valdés.
  • Music by: Miguel Miranda and José Miguel Tobar.

Synopsis: biographic documentary about Augusto Góngora during his last years of life fighting Alzheimer’s with the help of his wife Paulina Urrutia.

Shotgun Commentary: a lesson in love that surpasses any fictional work.

Paulina Urrutia and Augusto Góngora reading together.
Source: The Eternal Memory (Maite Alberdi, 2023).

Review

La Memoria Infinita follows the last years of life of Augusto Góngora. He was a journalist, documentarist, writer and TV host who dedicated his life to truth and remembrance. First, denouncing the injustices and cruelty during the Pinochet military regime. Later, promoting culture, arts and historical memory after the dictator was overthrown. His work led him to be a highly regarded member of the Chilean society, and to the love of his life, Paulina Urrutia.

Honesty over drama

The documentary begins halfway through his battle with Alzheimer’s. Thus, avoiding the excessive drama that is usually shown in fictional love stories featuring the diagnosis of this disease. The tone is honest and direct, it doesn’t dwell on theatrics that can cheapen the message. Both the good times and the bad ones are shown, respecting the accuracy of the process through which the couple goes.

Paulina and Augusto sitting on the theatre stage.
Source: The Eternal Memory (Maite Alberdi, 2023).

Alzheimer’s is one of the most scary diseases known. Being able to see a completely truthful representation helps the audience be a little less scared. Arming people with knowledge about such a complex situation is not only beautiful, but useful and terribly important.

Unwavering love and courage

Paula is the heart and soul of the documentary. She embodies a different type of strong woman from the business type that is usually exhibited as a goal to achieve. Her strength comes, not from power or money, but from love. She is capable of taking care of a husband that needs constant attention, as well as continuing her acting career, all of this while dealing with the emotional toll that losing a loved one implies.

The pain of watching the person you love most in the world fade away slowly as days go by is unimaginable, yet she laughs and enjoys life with him. She makes the most of her days with Augusto and has all the patience in the world during the nights, when he can’t help but to not be himself any more. The selfless love she shows for a person who will only get worse is an absolute inspiration. She is indisputable proof of that, when you love someone, nothing else matters.

Paulina and Augusto looking at a helicopter.
Source: The Eternal Memory (Maite Alberdi, 2023).

As for Augusto, his commitment to justice, truth and memory are so encouraging. They show that good people are capable of making the world so much better. His acceptance to shoot this documentary and to show people what Alzheimer’s is all about through him is but the last of a long list of actions in service of memory and information. Remarkable, brave people like him make the world go round.

Unfiltered tale

Alberdi showcases this love story in the most tasteful way, but never shying away from the truth and the worst parts of the illness. The combination of original footage with archival videos that the couple took of each other helps the audience understand their background and the depths of their love. It augments the intensity of the narrative and helps it connect to the audience at a very basic, raw level.

Paulina and Augusto laughing. Source: The Eternal Memory (Maite Alberdi, 2023).

The viewers can follow the tender, innocent and youthful love at the beginning of their relationship, alongside the tranquil, pure and patient love of their latter years. An evolution that ends up in moments of confusion, sadness and anger that create a bittersweet, unforgettable film.

Advice to take from this movie:

  • Choose your partner wisely.
  • Memory is precious.
  • Love transcends any problem and makes it more bearable.
Paulina and Augusto hugging. Source: The Eternal Memory (Maite Alberdi, 2023).

What’s your take? Have you watched La Memoria Infinita? Do you think anything will change as a reaction to the documentary? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema-related articles, check out the rest of my blog! 😀

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