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A great classic

Posted : 7 years, 8 months ago on 30 December 2010 02:52

To be honest, it has been ages since I have this movie and I should definitely re-watch it at some point. Anyway, even though I was very young or maybe it was in fact because I was so young but I thought that this movie was just quite mesmerizing to behold. Basically, in my opinion, this movie is all about mood and either you’ll be hypnotized by this mood (what happened in my case) or I’m afraid the whole thing might bore you to death. Indeed, there is no real plot, there is definitely no action scenes, in fact, nothing much really happened during the whole thing. And, yet, I thought it was quite mesmerizing. We basically follow this 2 characters and their fascinating conversation filled with some beautiful dialogues. Indeed, in my opinion, this movie is the closest thing you will get of watching a poem instead of reading it. Alain Resnais did deliver a really impressive directing debut here but even though he always had a stellar reputation in France, I can’t say I really ever cared for the rest of his work (I still have to watch ‘L'année dernière à Marienbad’ though). To conclude, I think it is a great movie and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are interested in French movies.

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You're destroying me. You're good for me.

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 16 July 2010 12:45

''You're destroying me. You're good for me.''

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.

Emmanuelle Riva: Elle

Hiroshima mon amour is an acclaimed 1959 drama film directed by French film director Alain Resnais, with a screenplay by Marguerite Duras. It is the documentation of an endless conversation between a French-Japanese interracial couple about memory and forgetfulness. It was a major catalyst for the Nouvelle Vague (French New Wave), making highly innovative use of miniature flashbacks, a deflated sense of time, and omniscient narration from multiple characters.
The title literally translates from French to English as Hiroshima, My Love, though the film is almost always referred to by its original French title.

This is an exceptional film, marking Alain Resnais’ debut as a film director, eclipsing a decade where he produced eye-opening short documentaries. Indeed, Hiroshima mon amour started out as a documentary about the reconstruction of Hiroshima, and the first fifteen minutes of the film uses documentary footage to great effect playing upon the audiences empathic nature.
As in many of his subsequent films, Resnais uses his unique approach of weaving memories and actual events, establishing an illusion of ethereal timelessness. Phrases are repeated again and again, to the point they brain wash our own memory banks, to the point the camera pans listlessly along lifeless scenery, and dialogue is played over documentary footage of the rebuilding of Hiroshima. The overall effect leaves a profound impression of regret and self-inflected torment, perfectly captured by Emmanuelle Riva’s emotionally charged performance.
The film's simplicity is belied by the fact that it compares and contrasts the tragedy of Hiroshima with the tragedy of young love. On the surface, the idea that the suffering of a young woman whose lover has died can be compared to the tragedy of 200,000 deaths is a bit of a stretch, to be sure. Although Resnais and screenwriter Marguerite Duras never explicitly compare the two or intersect them. Instead they explore the nature of forgetting and remembering regarding human emotions and memory.
A central theme of the film is the necessity to come to terms with the horrors of the past. Both characters in the film (the actress and the architect) have painful memories of the war, and their liaison seems to represent some kind of rapprochement between East and West. "You are Hiroshima. You are Nevers" is how the film concludes, suggesting that the torment of the Hiroshima disaster, like the painful love affair, will one day be forgotten.
You are the East. I am the West. We are together now.

The beauty and power of the film is driven primarily from the editing, which from the film's first cut, is both brilliant and evocative. In the first 15 minutes Resnais uses a poetic, elliptical editing structure that shuffles black and white images of amorous close-ups, newsreel footage, and reconstructed war footage together to draw us into the theme of memory. After that the editing slows a bit and draws us into the budding romance while still juxtaposing the past and the present in fascinating ways.
The film poses the very simple question, 'How can we forget tragedy?'... Yet it never directly answers that question instead fluttering around the issue with careful precision; It lets the audience decide for themselves the beauty, horror, and reflection regarding memory.
Hiroshima mon amour also deals with contrasts and opposites, such as love and death, war and peace, living and remembering, as well as dealing with two people from different parts of the world: One from France and one from Japan (both of whom in a post-WWII world would have been viewed differently than today). The title too - Hiroshima mon amour - is an oxymoron. It refers duly to the most atrocious bombing of the 20th century and to that of the nature regarding personal love.

Both of the characters in the film have been described by many critics as being symbolic characters who fit into the film's bigger message. However Emmanuelle Riva, in her first starring role, gives such an amazing performance with such delicate and compelling moments that to label her as being merely symbolic is at best unfair. Eiji Okada too gives an effective performance albeit as a strong, brooding, silent type.
Few films leave such a lasting impression as Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour. The stunning photography of contemporary Hiroshima, blended with bleak images of war-time France, is pure art, brought to life by a moving musical score. Whilst lacking the structure of the conventional film form, this film offers an experience that is supremely more satisfying and profoundly moving compared to anything else. Undoubtedly a masterpiece of memory, war, love and most importantly; The importance of a film conveying art and interpretation via the audience's imagination.

''All these years I've been looking for an impossible love.''

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