This film has been compared to "Citizen Kane," not because of the story itself, but the way it is told, and through innovative artistic devices. The screenplay is highly poetic even when describing destruction, death, and madness. Several jump cuts in time occur with voice-over, and, at the beginning, voice-over during a montage of frightening images from the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing and the bodies of the two lovers in bed. The characters represent different cities; the Japanese man, Hiroshima, the French woman, a city in France, Nevers (was this intentional?), but the latter might as well represent any outside nation. While "Hiroshima," even after being destroyed by an "ally" of France, falls in love with her and wants her to stay, despite his claims that she can never know what the bombing was really like, yet leaving this in the past without forgetting, "France" is hung up on a dead Nazi soldier whom she had loved, and became an outcast because of it. What the soldier really seems to represent is not the Nazis, but rather a real, true love that transcended nationalities and associations. France's past is personal and fears forgetting it, while Hiroshima's is communal and, while not wanting to forget, also wants to move ahead. For this reason Hiroshima keeps trying to convince France to stay so that they can be in love, but France is too preoccupied with its own personal ghost that it cannot share, which is why it is a major breakthrough for her when she tells her tragic story for the first time to anyone, Hiroshima. Hiroshima's past tragedy being communal is shared and it wants to share with the rest of the world. France's tragedy is personal and is only beginning to be shared. It takes the entire film before the two characters can get to a beginning of something more than their differences and likenesses of tragedy and loss in the past, and this beginning is who they really are, in the present, two people reborn from these tragedies.