EXCLUSIVE: MTV Documentary Films has announced a return theatrical engagement for its Oscar-nominated documentary The Eternal Memory, beginning today and extending throughout the month of February.
Maite Alberdi’s film, a love story that Deadline has compared to the narrative features Amour and Doctor Zhivago, will play exclusively at IFC Center in New York and in the Los Angeles area at two locations: Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica and Laemmle Glendale. In addition, MTV Documentary Films has set what it describes as “a very special Valentine’s Day Drive-In event on the evening of February 14 in the San Francisco Bay Area at the West Wind Drive-In theater, where couples can celebrate the love story of Paulina and Augusto that Alberdi so wonderfully captured in the film.”
A description of the film notes, “Augusto and Paulina have been together and in love for more than two decades. Eight years ago, their lives were forever changed by Augusto’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. As one of Chile’s most prominent cultural commentators and television presenters, Augusto is no stranger to building an archive of memory. Now he turns that work to his own life, trying to hold on to his identity with the help of his beloved Paulina, whose own pre-eminence as a famous actress and Chilean Minister of Culture predates her ceaselessly inventive manner of engaging with her husband.
“Day by day, the couple face this challenge head-on, relying on the tender affection and sense of humor shared between them that remains, remarkably, fully intact.”
As the film reveals, Augusto Góngora played an important role in Chile’s history – documenting opposition by the people to the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who ruled the nation from 1973-1990. After Pinochet’s fall, Góngora helped restore the cultural vitality of Chile, reconnecting it with the country’s pre-Pinochet traditions and values. He died in May 2023 at the age of 71.
“For me, it’s a film more about collective and historical memory than about Alzheimer’s,” Alberdi told Deadline after the Oscar nominations were announced on Jan. 23. Responding to the recognition from the Academy, she said, “When people see the film, they get involved [emotionally].” She added that her first celebratory call was to Paulina Urrutia. “She was crying. She was very emotional, and she felt that Augusto would be super happy with this, as a filmmaker [himself] too.”
Alberdi earned the second Oscar nomination of her career for The Eternal Memory, following her 2021 nomination for The Mole Agent. The Eternal Memory premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won the top prize for international documentary. It was named Best Non-Fiction Film by the New York Film Critics Online, among other prizes; Alberdi won Best Director at the Cinema Eye Honors in January, in a tie with fellow Oscar nominee Kaouther Ben Hania, director of Four Daughters.
Alberdi will be featured in the upcoming Women’s Panel at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 17.
The Eternal Memory is directed and produced by Maite Alberdi. The film is also produced by Juan De Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, and Rocío Jadue. Executive producers are Marcela Santibañez, Daniela Sandoval, Nicholas Hooper H., Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Chandra Jessee, Rebecca Lichtenfeld, Sergio Karmy, Nina L. Diaz, Liza Burnett Fefferman, and Sheila Nevins.
The Eternal Memory is one of two documentaries from MTV Documentary Films to earn Oscar nominations this year. The ABCs of Book Banning, directed by Sheila Nevins and co-directed by Trish Adlesic and Nazenet Habtezghi, is nominated for Best Documentary Short.