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
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #196. 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 »
They make advertisements for soap. Why not for peace?
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The first 15 minutes of this movie were very exciting for me: visually, thematically, aesthetically, philosophically and just on a purely cinematic level, it sent shivers down my spine. As the movie unfolds, it becomes more challenging and less accessible, also more difficult to take in on a purely aesthetic and emotional level, though it finally has the power to truly engage you intellectually, as a complex character study in a novel would. It is an emotional movie despite being so very unemotionally executed a Resnais trademark, from what I can see.
It's a funny coincidence that in the last six months or so, I've seen quite a few movies featuring women having their heads shaved just after WWII as punishment for having had affairs with German soldiers. This was the most challenging of the batch, bringing home the full sense of the "horror of oblivion", as the "Lui" character comments on "Elle"'s condition at one point. Hiroshima Mon Amour also reminded me of Antonioni a little, rather than the other Resnais movie that I'd seen which was also about memory: Muriel ou Le temps d'un retour. Hiroshima evokes Antonioni in a paradoxical way, since it was thematically the opposite of the Italians' movies. In Hiroshima, a man and a woman were doing the opposite of being alienated from one another, though also in a desolate emotional land/cityscape that could be superficially called Antonionian.
Regarding people calling it Nouvelle Vague, in my view this is a one of a kind movie and no more New Wave than Notti di Cabiria is Neo-realist. It is also quite obviously a literary movie halfway between cinema and literature in nature, and very unique for it. By the way, did Emmanuelle Riva ("Elle") remind anyone even vaguely of Irène Jacob as Veronique in Kieslowski's movie?
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