Juan, I Forgot, I Don't Remember

Director: Juan Carlos Rulfo

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


In his first cinematographic work, the short film El Abuelo Cheno Y Otras Historias (1994), director Juan Carlos Rulfo interviewed the elderly inhabitants of a small village in the southern Mexican state of Jalisco about the murder of his grandfather. With Juan, I Forgot, I Don’t Remember, he returns to the same locale in an effort to reconstruct the life of his father, the poet Juan Rulfo. The result, a montage of images and stories, is a lyrical, feature-length, documentary study of memory and identity. Remembering and forgetting, forgetting and re-remembering with generous measures of creative confabulation, the villagers reweave Juan Rulfo’s persona with threads of the real, the borrowed, and the invented. The result, composed partly from the life of the sought-after father and partly from the lives of those who remember him, is a story that reveals multiple strands of the elders’ identities through the identity of the poet.

Rulfo portrays the intricate geography of human relationships that surrounded his father with exquisite detail and arresting camerawork. Composed with a contemplative, yet immediate, visual poetry, Juan constructs a history of the village and the hard but dignified life of its inhabitants as it creates a biography of its almost-forgotten central character.

Screening Details

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