Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Hiroshima Mon Amour; Drama, France/ Japan, 1959; D: Alain Resnais, S: Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, Stella Dassas

Hiroshima, 1959. A French movie actress falls in love with a Japanese engineer who can speak French. She spends the night with him and thinks about the killed people in Hiroshima during the World War II. The next day she wakes up and goes shooting an antiwar film. Her lover notices she is nervous so she tells him her story when she was 20, 14 years ago, when she experienced her first love with a German soldier who was killed.

"Hiroshima, My Love" is one of the most unusual romance movies of the 20th Century cinema, but it's satisfaction depends a lot about the individual taste of every viewer. The simple, but non-linear story without a plot is comprised out of memories, reflections and flashbacks of the heroine without a name, and leans on the (today insignificant) French New Wave and it's methods: the breaking of movie conventions, unusual ideas and swift editing. By that, "Hiroshima" reminds a little bit of the rebellious Godard, but unlike his fake worlds, Resnais' world here is full of honest and real human emotions (the touching scene where the heroine tells how she experienced her 20th birthday alone and closed in a cellar). The screenplay is interesting, but towards the end a little bit worn out and repetitive. Still, that doesn't undermine the quality of this forgotten classic that has quite a share of genius scenes: the 20 minute opening sequence in which the reflections of the naked bodies of the couple in bed are exchanged with terrifying images of victims in Hiroshima after the atomic bombing, but also parallels of the "forbidden" love between the heroine with a German and a Japanese. The screenplay was nominated for an Oscar, the film and actress Emmanuelle Riva were nominated for a BAFTA and the Golden Palm in Cannes while the film even won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for best foreign language film.


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