March 29, 2023

Paulina Urrutia and Augusto Góngora appear in The Eternal Memory by Maite Alberdi, an official selection of the World Documentary Competition at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by the press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

The Eternal Memory is a documentary directed and written by Maite Alberdi. It follows Augusto and Paulina, a couple who have been together for 25 years.

Having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Paulina is now Augusto’s caretaker. Throughout the film, we see intimate footage between the two from the past to the present. There is footage of their family, Paulina’s acting career, and Augusto’s career. The two are constantly working on retaining Augusto’s memories, with Paulina offering pop quizzes and many endearing stories. We witness Paulina showering Augusto, having him onstage as she prepares for a performance, and spending time together reading during a walk. We also learn more about Augusto’s past as one of Chile’s most prominent cultural commentators and television presenters.

As the film progresses, so does Augusto’s illness. You can visibly see Augusto and Paulina aging, and its heartbreaking witnessing the shift in Augusto’s mental capacity, especially considering Augusto’s prominent career that emphasized the importance of memory during and after the Pinochet dictatorship. I also really empathized with Paulina, who remained so strong and loving, despite the challenges of Augusto’s disease.

The Eternal Memory is a beautiful and poignant film about a couple’s love for one another, and the concept of memory on an individual and collective level. I was really moved by this film, and just thinking about it makes me want to cry. It learned a lot about the struggles of Alzheimer’s as well as the struggles that Chile as a whole has endured.

MTV Documentary Films recently acquired the film and plans to release it theatrically during awards season later this year. If you enjoy documentaries, this is a film you can’t miss.

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