Synopsis: Don’t Die Without Telling Me Where You Are Going is a magical, time-shifting romance about the power of love and the movies from Argentine director Eliseo Subiela (Dark Side of the Heart). Dario Grandinetti (Talk to Her) stars as Leopoldo, a lonely film projectionist who invents a machine that can record his dreams. The machine reveals Leopoldo to be the reincarnation of one of the inventors of cinema, and it also records the image of a woman from the past with whom he falls deeply in love.
eyelights: its magical tale of love through time. its existential questions. its quirks. its love of cinema.
eyesores: its weaker third act.
“She’s the woman of your dreams.”
‘No te mueras sin decirme adónde vas’ is one of those random gems I stumbled upon many years ago, as I was exploring my local library’s growing DVD collection. I had no idea what it was but I was obsessively consuming everything I’d see. It fell under my gaze.
And it was quite a sight.
The 1995 picture, which was written and directed by Argentinian auteur Eliseo Subiela (whose steamy ‘No mires para abajo‘ I’ve recently watched) is a delightfully quirky love story that bridges time and space; it reunites two lovers after one of them reincarnates.
Leopoldo is a mildly eccentric tinkerer who’s developing a device that can read dreams. His spouse, Susana, doesn’t have faith in his projects and worries about making ends since he’s also a film projectionist in an old-fashioned cinema that’s past its prime.
One day, after having used the “dream collector” on himself and dreamt of a beautiful woman playing the piano, she shows up at the cinema, waiting for him as he leaves. Leopoldo soon discovers that Raquel is intangible and that he’s the only person who can see her.
She tells him that he’s the reincarnation of her former spouse, William, who worked with Thomas Edison in developing the kinescope. Instinctively feeling tremendous love for this stranger, Leopoldo’s existence is shaken to it foundations. What will he do now?
As someone who is slightly romantic, who loves fantasy and interesting twists, I really enjoyed ‘No te mueras sin decirme adónde vas’; it’s one of those movies that immediately struck me and stayed with me ever since. I’ve wanted a good DVD or BD release ever since.
It doesn’t play as well as it did back then, partly because I’ve seen so many movie in the intervening years, but it still charmed me. I love its premise and enjoyed its quirkiness, such as Leopoldo being so attached to his plant, Anita, that he carries her everywhere.
(And yes, he talks to it, so he always appears to be talking to himself…)
I also really dug the idea of love transcending the ages like this. Raquel explains to Leopoldo that their souls have been connected for ages, being partners through the centuries, sometimes even swapping genders. This plays to the romantic notion of “the one”.
And it’s enticing, whether it’s true or not.
I think part of its appeal is that we all want to feel special, and while it’s nice to be so attractive that many people might want you, there’s something more satisfying to the idea that there’s one perfect person for us and that, of all people, we are their intended.
I liked that Subiela suggests that some people are more receptive to these types of connections, which is why Leopoldo can see Raquel but others can’t. And when he numbs himself, for instance with alcohol, he risks losing his connection with her. It made sense to me.
Another enjoyable aspect of the picture is its science fiction elements, what with his device to read Anita’s feelings, the dream collector, which Leopoldo develops with his friend Oscar, and Oscar’s own invention, a robot companion called Carlitos. It adds flavour.
‘No te mueras sin decirme adónde vas’ is also intrinsically linked with cinema, not just in the fact that Leopoldo is a film projector but because many of his experiences revolve around the cinema. Subiela seemed to be commenting on the romance and love of the cinema.
This must be his own ‘Cinema Paradiso’.
His passion for cinema is such that he refers to it in a few moments, like when Leopoldo’s despair is expressed through the melting of the film, as though the movie was caught in the projector. It was one of many visually-creative touches that Subiela injected into it.
There were some inconsistencies in the picture, however, like the fact that one day Leopoldo is seeing auras, but then stops altogether afterwards. What happened? And what about the role that the organic dust played? What was it and what difference did it make?
And what’s the story with Leopoldo suddenly being able to communicate with the dead? Why wasn’t this explored more, instead of just giving him a brief subplot about finding his dead childhood friend’s body? It seems to me that much could have been made of this idea…
But it wasn’t.
Ultimately, though, ‘No te mueras sin decirme adónde vas’ is a charmer. It’s imperfect, but it brings together so many interesting and/or intriguing elements together that it’s hard not to be taken with it in part, if not in whole. I look forward to watching it again.
It’s a picture with more than one life in it.
Date of viewing: April 6, 2017