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1959. A French young woman has spent the night with a Japanese man, at Hiroshima where she went for the shooting of a film about peace. He reminds her of the first man she loved. It was during World War II, and he was a German soldier. The main themes of this film are memory and oblivion. Written by
Eiji Okada (playing Lui) did not know any French and was coached in pronouncing each syllable and memorized that order. See more »
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 »
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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