Daily | Locarno 2013 | Joaquim Pinto’s WHAT NOW? REMIND ME

What Now? Remind Me

‘What Now? Remind Me’

“The first image of What Now? Remind Me, Portuguese film industry veteran Joaquim Pinto’s 164-minute portrait of his one-year experience taking experimental medication for AIDS and Hepatitis-C, sets the tone perfectly,” begins Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn. “In a lush extreme close-up, a grey slug oozes across the screen, its pores magnified to expressive degrees. In a voiceover that remains continuous for the remainder of the movie, Pinto introduces himself and observes that his world has moved past him. Coupled with the telling visual aid, Pinto effectively conveys the slow, thoughtful pace that maintains solemn and graceful qualities throughout.”

“Joaquim Pinto has lived with cinema since the early 70s,” writes Marie-Pierre Duhamel in the Notebook. “One of the most famous sound artists of his generation, he has been a tireless companion to João César Monteiro, the mentor and friend who made him go to film school, and Werner Schroeter, Raúl Ruiz, Manoel de Oliveira, Vitor Gonçalves, André Téchiné, João Botelho, Robert Kramer… and also the producer of many films (many by Monteiro), and last but not least, the refined director of films like Onde bate o sol or Das Tripas Coração. Joaquim’s album is not a press book. It’s a family album. Of times when cinema was being questioned and reinvented… or better to say ‘enchanted’— enchanté. Politically challenging and artistically under new spells.” Also in the Notebook, Duhamel posts a collection of “Images From / For Joaquim Pinto.”

“Pinto’s remarkable ability to invest his audience in his mood and mindset is his film’s formidable power, allowing us to feel—or at least imagine to feel—the immense burden of his time-biding life,” writes Ronan Doyle at Next Projection. “Maybe the closest point of comparison is Jonathan Caouette’s Tarnation, also trained on intimate personal health issues, albeit mental in Caouette’s case. Both films thrust the viewer into the world of their makers; in Pinto’s case, it’s a crescendo stream of semi-consciousness that equally establishes the prevailing sadness of his days and the underlying happiness that allows him to survive it. It is, at heart, a tale of romance: an at times extravagant, excessive one perhaps, but never without its humbling depths of exposed humanity.”

“The effects of the drugs are myriad and not all controllable,” notes Boyd van Hoeij at Cineuropa. “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).”


Updates, 8/20: “Although the film doesn’t flinch at discussing illness and pain,” writes Dennis Lim in the Los Angeles Times, “it remains remarkably alert to the joys in Pinto’s life: his beloved husband, their dogs and their countryside home, friendships and artistic collaborations, his enduring love of and belief in cinema. Confessional but never solipsistic, constantly looking beyond individual experience toward history and the world, this profoundly moving film about living in the shadow of death becomes an all-encompassing meditation on what it means to be alive.”

“The most widely liked and admired of Locarno 2013’s many world-premieres, it picked up both the Jury Prize (effectively the silver medal) as well as the FIPRESCI award,” notes Neil Young in his review for the Hollywood Reporter. “Pinto’s collage approach allows him to range back and forth in time, exploring tangents at will, still photographs fading in and out over the video-footage.” And he’s “sustained by his work, his network of friends, his dogs and by his companion—and at a time when gay rights and gay marriage are so often in the news, What Now? Remind Me is a beautifully unfussy illustration of a productive, supportive and evidently very happy union. Taciturn, outdoorsy Nuno’s bashful reticence in front of the camera, needless to say, adds his peripheral contributions an extra layer of enigmatic charisma.”

Update, 8/25: Writing for FIPRESCI, Kiva Reardon argues that “this is no typical survivor tale, rejecting talking head experts, manipulative tear-jerking moments and celebratory swelling musical scores. Indeed, the forced positivism of feel-good cinema is undermined from the outset, as Pinto overlays an X-ray of his decaying teeth on the road he and his partner are driving down. ‘So,’ Pinto narrates, ‘I’m starting with a smile.’ The surreal image not only lays bare Pinto’s candid and dark humour which infuses the film, but also neatly sets up the What now? Remind Me‘s focus: the intersection between the physical body (those rotting incisors) and the limits of expression (the ghoulish grin).”

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