1001 Flicks

Regularly updated blog charting the most important films of the last 104 years.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

351. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

Directed By Alain Resnais


A French woman is an actress shooting a film in Hiroshima, she starts an affair with a Japanese man through which her pass is explored and exorcised.


Alain Resnais, when faced with making a documentary about Hiroshima was afraid of repeating himself. He had famously directed Nuit et Brouillard (Night and Fog) about the holocaust, and again to make a film about Man's cruelty to Man peppered with images of corpses and disfigurements, death and rebirth would make him repeat himself almost inevitably.

He made, then, a film about memory, about the dangers of forgetting and the necessity of living with your horrors in order for life to continue. He puts this in the context of a relation initially based on lust, the most life affirming of Mankind's impulses, between East and West. In this context it is the Western element, the woman, who has some remembering to do and to share with the Japanese man. In the end the whole thing is about not forgetting but leaning to sublimate the memory.

The film works due to Alain's masterful direction and the superb editing in parts of the film. The acting is good but Marguerite Duras might have been too literary in the scriptwriting for its own good, many of those sentences would work great on a book where you can pause, read, re-read, go back, think etc. In a filmic context, however, the sentence exists now and ceases the next second, and when it is too complex the actor cannot but look silly. This unfortunately happens in several moments of the film, people just don't say those things in any occasion, unless they are pedants, which I am sure was not the intention. Oh well, the French.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

According to James Monaco, Resnais was originally commissioned to make a short documentary about the atomic bomb, but spent several months confused about how to proceed because he did not want to recreate his 1955 Holocaust documentary Night and Fog. He later went to his producer and joked that the film could not be done unless Marguerite Duras was involved in writing the screenplay.

The film is online, part 1:


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