Before I Forget (Avant Que J’Oublie) (4 stars)

Before I Forget (Avant Que J’Oublie)

(15) 108min

In this episodic account of an aging homosexual’s life in Paris, writer and director Jacques Nolot takes the leading role of writer Pierre in a film that looks at the alternative networks of communication. Roles here would seem to be more fluid than in hetero existence, with older partners becoming father figures, friends becoming unrequited lovers, young lovers adopted sons and even the sandwich delivery bloke can momentarily be turned into a rent boy. Nolot has no statement to make; but observes astutely the numerous alternative choices involved in gay living.

Whether depicting sexual congress, the dead time of writer’s block or making a cup of coffee naked in the middle of the night, Before I Forget is everything one wanted Tom Ford’s A Single Man to be. Quiet and contemplative, Nolot’s camera approach brilliantly gives everything a great deal of space but is never less than attentive to the details. It also has a great sense of what sound theorist Michel Chion calls ‘vast extension’ – sound that extends beyond the immediate parameters of dramatic action, and that here helps capture the film’s melancholic aspect. Minimal extras.

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