A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
A French woman and a Japanese man have an affair while she is in Japan making a film about peace and the impact of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, The man, an architect, lost his family in the bombing. She recalls her lover during the war, a 23 year-old German soldier who later died. Despite the time they spend together, her attachment appears minimal and they go forward into the future. Written by
After they leave the teahouse, a shot from the side shows Lui standing behind Elle to her left with a gap of about a foot and a half. The next frontal shot shows him standing directly behind her with only a small gap between them. See more »
What did Hiroshima mean to you, in France?
[pauses for a second]
The end of the war... completely, I mean. Amazement that they dared, amazement that they succeeded. And for us, the start of an unknown fear. Then, indifference. And fear of that indifference.
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As a follow up to his monumental documentary "Nuit et brouillard" (Night and Fog), Resnais continues in his war motif with a chilling and powerful statement on the post-modernist, post-war world. An incarnation of a Marguerite Duras screen-play, "Hiroshima mon amour" depicts the confusion surrounding an eracinated and war-stricken people.
Questioning the possibility of Mimesis--"Tu n'as rien vu à Hiroshima. Rien!" (You saw nothing in Hiroshima. Nothing!)-- Resnais rejects the notion of re-creation or imitation, conforming to the philosophies of Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida and thus calling into question his own efforts in "Nuit et brouillard." At the same time, he adheres to the Aristotelian ideal that the purpose of Mimesis is the cathartic effect produced by pity and terror, and not merely the representation.
Appealing also to Freudian psychoanalysis, the characters are forced to re-examine the effects of the pathology in attempt to reconstruct the past and determine the cause. (Notice Resnais' use of lighting in the reconstruction scene.) Subtle clues throughout enable the viewer to piece together the story and perform their own psychoanalysis of the situation. A young woman from Nevers, France vows to "never" return to her hometown and the viewer is left to determine the cause.
In my opinion, one of the top ten films of all time, "Hiroshima mon amour" is a work of art that all lovers of cinema must see. Resnais is a cinematographic genius, and his ambivalent depiction of post-war Japan and France in the characters of "Him" and "Her" make this film a cultural landmark as well as masterpiece of post-war, post-modernist art.
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