In Before I Forget (Avant que j’oublie) Pierre Pruez (Jacques Nolot) has spent most of his youth as a gutsy sex worker, but is now confronted with the full-fledged effects of old age and chronic illness. At 58 years old, the man is a hopeless insomniac addicted to cigarettes who can’t find anyone to be in a relationship with – or even for a random hookup. This is why Pierre is now hiring gay men of his own for sex and meets up with Marc (Bastien d’Asnières), a young hustler who invites him to a drag club. We soon learn that Pierre’s health problems stem from his HIV-positive diagnosis and that his 24-years treatment has taken its toll not only on the man’s body and psyche, but also on his performance in
After meeting with his well-off friend, the man wants to travel and make the most of his life. However, his sex trip to the Parisian Pigalle is cut short due to his impotence issues and Pierre runs into a former con and old pal, Paul (Marc Rioufol). The reunited friends reminisce about the good old days over lunch and talk about their time in prison. Since the two were very close in their youth, the now retired hustler opens up to Paul about his regrets and the sorrowful nostalgia that has crept up on him since his health began to slowly decline. Pierre hopes he can drench his depression in money and sex, especially after finding out that his former boss and lover, Toutoune (Albert Mainella), recently died and might have left an inheritance for him.
“It’s an unsentimental meditation on old age and pleasures past, memories happy and sad, from a life spent providing and receiving sexual pleasures of an active and passive kind.”
— The Guardian
“Avant Que J’Oublie is not only a fascinating and moving look into a world of marginalised homosexuality that probably does not exist anymore for most gay people, it is also an important work from the point of view of the politics of film.”
— Ruthless Culture
Did You Know?
The film’s director and writer, Jacques Nolot, actually plays himself in the film (as Pierre Pruez) and describes the experience as “a wicked pleasure”. Before I forget is part of a semi-autobiographical trilogy, alongside L’Arrière Pays (1998) and Porn Theater (2002). Nolot designed the motion picture as a memento mori comedy and admits that the main character’s persona and predicament are not very far from his own quandaries. Review our Gay Themed Films Here