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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
This film pioneered the use of jump cutting to and from a flashback, and of very brief flashbacks to suggest obtrusive memories. See more »
When Elle leaves the hotel to go the set, she is wearing a nurse's uniform with a headscarf and carrying a black handbag. When Lui meets her on the set, she is now wearing a skirt and blouse and still has the headscarf. When they leave the set, the headscarf is left behind. When they get to Lui's house, she now has a white jacket. See more »
Hi-ro-shi-ma. Hiroshima. That is your name.
Yes, that is my name. Your name is Ne-vers. Nevers in France.
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I saw this thirty or so years ago. I don't remember it moving me profoundly, but then so many things at that age routinely inject you with massive change without you knowing. Seeing it now gives me great, great appreciation for what it is. And though I have been previously exposed, it washed over me all over again.
It has a laconic pace. Usually, one leverages this for relaxation into nature. Robert Redord. Here it relaxes into a tension of a different order, a quiet insistent striving for connection, like "In the Mood for Love." In this case though, the filmmaker has turned that yearning sideways so you have three dimensions of pull.
You have the desire for romance, here presented in a way that is more engaging than usual because of its folding into the other dimensions. You have the desire to comprehend war, war defined here as the sacrifice of innocents and war as a sort of incomprehensible desire running in parallel to all the other incomprehensible desires we see, every one.
And you have the desire of a film to reach into the inner world of ourselves. Film itself is a character here, with its own desires and doubts. The three of these fold in such a way that as we spend time with them we have to fill it by pouring ourselves into the film because it pulls story from us rather than serving it in timely patter.
Its an open world, made open by providing an amazing skeleton, on which we are surprised to find our own flesh and our own wondering about next actions.
He, an architect, she an actress, both highly cinematic beings. Both in Hiroshima with folded cranes over dying souls in beds. Both, this is us now, wondering, shall we do it? Shall she stay? What will it mean? Surely that the world will not be saved, not even a little, not even that they may try. Or will they? Should they?
This is such an open framework that not only do you pour yourself into it, but other filmmakers can and do. You owe it to yourself to see "H Story." after this. Or better, before. Hah!
Ted's Evaluation -- 4 of 3: Every cineliterate person should experience this.
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