Review: In ‘Paraguay Remembered’, Does Time Heal All Wounds?

Original Article: New York Times, FEB. 23, 2017
A scene from ‘Paraguay Remembered,’ directed by Dominique Dubosc.

The French documentarian Dominique Dubosc is a secret too well kept.
Despite a filmography comprising two dozen pictures, he is credited with only two directorial efforts on the United States-based Internet Movie Database.
The memory-piece aspect of his latest film, ‘Paraguay Remembered’ (its original title is the more evocative ‘Memoria Desmemoriada,’ or ‘Forgetful Memory’), may therefore be elusive for those who see its North American theatrical debut. That’s a shame, because this quiet movie, shot in black-and-white and color, is an unhurried, beautiful, and pained work that through simple means resonates on various levels.

A preview of the film.

By KinoFILM on February 23, 2017. Image courtesy of Internet Video Archive. Watch in Times Video.

The filmmaker narrates, speaking at the beginning of his return to Paraguay after a 40-year absence. ‘Now I’m the one behind the window,’ he notes as he shoots an art gallery opening in the country’s capital, Asunci’n. Mr. Dubosc shows some of the art on view, which leads him to reflect on the political turmoil of the time he was first there in the late 1960s, when he was making his earliest films.

He also chronicles visits with old friends and contemporary activists.
Keeping his camera at a discreet distance from his subjects, he conjures, through images and words, an ever more disquieting set of truths about history and memory. Mr. Dubosc speaks calmly, but with clear pain and anger, about the dictator Alfredo Stroessner, who was in power during the filmmaker’s first trip, and the varied forms of resistance to his regime; he speaks with dry irony of what he sees as the lukewarm reforms of Federico Franco, who was president in 2012-13, and calls Barack Obama, then still the United States president, ‘lord of the drones.’ (Anthology Film Archives is screening this picture through Thursday, in tandem with a miniretrospective of Mr. Dubosc’s earlier works on Saturday and Sunday.)

Paraguay Remembered
Director Dominique Dubosc
Running Time 1h 29m
Genre Documentary
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Last updated: Mar 3, 2017