Spanish director Ventura Pons returns to documentary filmmaking with this study of world-renowned museum expert Ignasi Millet. HIV-positive yet promiscuous, accustomed to opulence yet now struggling to endure Spain’s economic crisis, Ignasi is a fascinating set of contradictions — and Pons’ film is a portrait of both the man and his times.
Flamboyant and unapologetically gay, HIV-positive, Ignasi Millet has led a colourful life, and hasn't allowed his sexual orientation to deny him a family — hence his marriage to a woman with whom he's had two sons. The son of influential Catalan painters, Ignasi was instilled early on with an appreciation for art that has informed his career as a world-renowned museum expert. Ventura Pons' Ignasi M. offers a portrait of this extraordinary man.
Returning to the documentary form that Pons first explored in his debut, Ocana, an Intermittent Portrait (about a homosexual Andalusian painter living in Barcelona), Ignasi M. is as striking as its predecessor. Both films not only introduce us to a fascinating personality; they also capture the essence of the era that personality inhabited. Ocana signalled the end of the Franco regime and a period of blossoming liberty in Spain, while Ignasi M. is a product of the eurozone and the economic and social crises that have recently crippled the country — we watch as Ignasi's once-successful company goes bankrupt, and witness him on the brink of losing an over-mortgaged house.
With his wife now out as a lesbian, and
his two sons moved abroad, Ignasi ruminates
with his friends and colleagues on subjects such as the future of art preservation
in Europe. His regime of twenty-nine
pills per day, and his weekly visits to the
clinic where he is part of a trial of a new retroviral
medication, is a reminder that AIDS
is far from being cured. Yet his sincere and
no-holds-barred approach to living also
points to the possibility of renewal and
reinvention. Ignasi's entire life is a testament
to the power of perseverance and the
inevitability of change — genuine consolation
in these troubled times.