A former gigolo who has been HIV-positive for 24 years navigates a slew of physical and emotional obstacles with mordant aplomb in “Before I Forget.” Third installment in scripter-helmer-star Jacques Nolot’s trilogy on the pragmatic side of gay life finds the straight-shooting poet of matter-of-fact sexual transactions in fine narrative form, exhibiting his aging body and mindset without a trace of vanity. If you’ve pondered how to order a round of fellatio as one orders a pizza or wondered what gay gentlemen of a certain age talk about, this touching glimpse of faded beauty and looming decrepitude fits the bill.
Made for a mere E400,000 with a predominantly non-pro cast, pic follows the daily and nightly activities of Pierre (Nolot), whose sleep is tormented by aches and vomiting and whose future is a little bleaker in light of the death of the man who more or less supported him for three decades.
Pierre meets for drinks or meals with other men in his loose circle, one of whom has just inherited a vast fortune in art and property from his patron. Another spends a fortune on male prostitutes. Pierre, 58, doesn’t get the same kick out of verbal abuse he apparently used to but still enjoys fellating younger flesh for a fee.
Proceedings would be risible and sordid in less-refined hands, but Nolot has a knack, often via nicely handled incongruity, for finding the human comedy in awkward situations. His technique for getting out of a traffic citation is almost certainly a cinematic first.
Lensing’s distinctive Parisian feel boasts stark, chilly lighting, to accompany the frosty indignities of solitude.