When no-one else can understand me
When everything I do is wrong
You give me hope and consolation
You give me strength to carry on
And you’re always there to lend a hand
In everything I do
That’s the wonder
The wonder of you
When I heard Baker Knight’s song “The Wonder of You” playing while Paulina and Augusto shared a light hearted dance moment, my heart dropped to my stomach knowing that the bottom would soon fall out. Like so many with Alzheimer’s memory fails them, but when you are an award-winning journalist and author who has fought the good fight on behalf of memory and all it encompasses…it’s a different kind of struggle.
Augusto and Paulina have been together and in love for 25 years. Eight years ago, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and his wife has since become his caretaker. As one of Chile’s most prominent cultural commentators and television presenters, Augusto Góngora is no stranger to building an archive of memory, having been responsible for that herculean task following the Pinochet dictatorship and its systematic erasure of collective consciousness.
Now he turns that work to his own life, trying to hold on to his identity with the help of his beloved Pauli. Day by day, the couple faces this challenge head-on, adapting to the disruptions brought on by the taxing disease while relying on the tender affection and sense of humor shared between them that remains intact.
Oscar-nominated director and Sundance alum Maite Alberdi gracefully delves into the melancholy of remembrance met with resistance, uplifted by the beautiful partnership at its core. Traversing decades of intimacy, The Eternal Memory elegantly cements Alberdi’s place as one of today’s most thoughtful documentarians.
Your heart will sing and shatter in a zillion pieces all at once, which a total testament to the filmmaker and her subjects. Witnessing the grief Augusto has for his own life and Pauli for their life together is absolutely heartbreaking. Yet, one will walk away longing for the type of love they have been so fortunate to experience in this lifetime if only for a moment.
I could go on, but Augusto communicates it so much more eloquently than I ever could, “Those who have memory have courage and are sowers. When rebuilding emotional memory, you embrace pain and without memory we don’t know who we are . We wander confused not knowing where to go. Without memory there is no identity. The forbidden memory should not be read to stay anchored to the past, much less to open, awaken or the numb pain. If memory helps us recover our own identity and recognize the truth there’ll be no more reconciliation or reunion.”