What Now? Remind Me (E Agora? Lembra-me) is Joaquim Pinto‘s video scrapbook of a trying year in which the longtime filmmaker turns the camera on himself. After exhausting the treatments available for HIV and Hepatitis C he enrolls in a grueling clinical trial in Madrid. The investigational drug has toxic side effects that at times leave him bedridden and forgetful. Lying down with the camera not far from his face he confesses that he’s in a complete state of inertia; it’s as if he’s become disconnected from his body. Yet, he always finds a way to relate his pain poetically, “It’s hard to breathe, lights and sounds hurt me.”
With old pictures, album covers, newspaper clippings, and book excerpts together with candid footage of the life he shares with his long-time partner — including their sex life, we are drawn deep into his psyche. Close to three hours long it is a visual treatise of human existence, his development as a filmmaker, living with AIDS, politics, mortality, and his fading memories of, “moments written on the wind.”
Even in this intensely personal portrait, he touches on social issues. When Pinto watches the news, Europe’s financial woes and steep unemployment rates are often the topic of discussion. At one point his medical treatment is in jeopardy. The Spanish government, in hopes of reeling in years of a recession, has made cuts to its social healthcare system and excluded foreigners from receiving medical benefits. As a Portuguese national, he may no longer be eligible to receive care in Spain. The repercussions of a bureaucrat’s political decision compound his already excruciating recovery.
What Now? Remind Me is playing at Film Society of Lincoln Center from August 8 – 14 and coincides with A Life Less Ordinary: The Films of Joaquim Pinto a retrospective of nine of Pinto’s films running August 8 – 12.