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MOVIE REVIEW:Hiroshima mon amour
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Two bodies embrace in the dark. They are made of love and war. These
are their bodies and those of who were damaged forever in the tragedy
of Hiroshima. These are their bodies and also the bodies of those who
themselves were in their own past. To love is to remember those we
were. Those bodies embrace in the dark and they know they have to part
sometime. This last night of love is every love story. Their joy and
tears are those of any love story. In the present of this night, they
share pasts as they wait to that present to finish. Each one identifies
the other with a past, a name, a city: your name is Hiroshima, your
name is Nevers. At least that will remain. The rest is oblivion No
film that I know has ever reached the moving poetry of this one.
Resnais and Duras, in this unparalleled achievement of images and
words, make us feel love, sex, pain, past and present, personal history
and History. You have to let you go and watch and listen. Poetry does
the rest. Chef-d'oeuvre!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A French actress meets a Japanese architect in Hiroshima while filming
a movie about peace. It's 1959 and the shadow of the Atom Bomb still
looms over the city and its people. The two share a night of intimacy
but she's due to return to Paris in 24 hours, and in that time the man
tries to convince her to stay.
The simplicity of Hiroshima Mon Amour's premise hides the fact that it
deals with one of the most important aspects of of human existence:
memory and forgetfulness. In a superficial it's about the forgetfulness
of history: the woman in describing her memories of the day the bomb
fell in Hiroshima, explains that at first she felt astonished, then
astonished at the fact they did it, then became indifferent. That's so
painful because it's true – no matter how horrible something may
happen, sooner or later it'll be forgotten, or absorbed by our
consciousness until it fits with everything else and it's just another
memory, devoid of any importance; like Hiroshima after a while.
Paradoxically, the woman is haunted by one memory she can't forget,
something that in comparison to Hiroshima, pales in its insignificance:
a war-time love affair with a German soldier. It was the experience
that defines her existence and fourteen years later she still can't
forget it. When the Japanese man asks her to explain why she can't
stay, she tells him this story and how much it means to her.
This movie shows how much memories create our identity and how much the
past can have hold of our present actions, how powerful they can be
that they stop us from building a future. I was reminded at times of
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but whereas that movie shows how
our good memories are important for our happiness, Resnais and
Marguerite Duras' movie shows the negative side.
The movie's cinematography impressed me for its use of newsreels mixed
with the film narrative. The first fifteen movies show a voice over
dialogue between the man and the woman as they talk about Hiroshima,
cutting back and forth between close-ups of their naked bodies in bed
with footage from Hiroshima, some even from the time Hiroshima was hit
with the Atom Bomb, not sparing the viewer from the horrors the
explosion created – burned children, men with their jaws missing, empty
eye-sockets. As we witness these horrors the soothing, suave voice of
the woman discourses about what the city. It's difficult to explain how
sad it i.
The movie is known for having pioneered the use of cutting small
flashbacks with scenes in the present to give the impression of flashes
of memory. Most of these have to do with the tragic love story the
woman had during WWII.
The lead actors give amazing performances. I was happy to recognize
Eiji Okada as the man; just the day before I had seen him in Woman In
The Dunes, in which his performance dominated. But here ultimate praise
must go to Emmanuelle Riva. She transmitted so much sadness and
confusion I was overwhelmed by her.
I had before watched Resnais Last Year In Marienbad and hadn't enjoyed
it: too indefinite, too cold, too experimental for my taste. Both
movies are quite similar in cinematography, although I'd give the edge
to 'Marienbad' for its slightly surrealistic touches. But the themes of
memory, forgetfulness, time are present in both. Why I love this movie,
however, is because Resnais and his screenwriter, Marguerite Duras,
created a credible, heartbreaking love story to develop their themes in
an enjoyable and accessible manner.
I think anyone who enjoys human relationships will find it impossible
not to be moved by the story of Hiroshima Mon Amour.
Now and then I decide to watch "classic" movies with no other reason
than being able to say I watched them if someone brings the names up at
the dinner table. So, on a frosty Sunday evening I picked Hiroshima Mon
Amour and set out to see what the big fuss was all about (read the
previous comments here on IMDb and you'll know what I mean). Suffice to
say that this movie stands out as self-indulgent and pretentious even
among French movies. The pseudo-pedantic poetry, the acting, the feeble
storyline, the camera angles, the music… everything adds up to make
this an almost perfect instrument of cinematographic torture. Avoid
this piece of junk even if you are serving a lifetime prison sentence
or cast away in a remote island. I would gladly through myself in the
arms of a Gestapo interrogator rather than go through the whole 90
minutes of this atrocity again. Horrific.
I just saw this movie tonight in Copenhagen. It was introduced by the
legendary Danish author and journalist Bo Green Jensen. He is a bit of
a philosopher-poet and the movie is also very philosophical and poetic.
It is a lot better than those cheesy American movies one sees nowadays.
This movie really has substance. The love-story is very convincing, and
the story within a story about her teenage-romance is very interesting.
All things being equal, this movie is an epic triumph of the human soul
over adversity – shown by the bleak background against the rainy
Hiroshima. The elderly and the wounded – the brokenhearted and the
damned. This movie has it all. It also refers a lot to Poe and to other
works or art. A must see for movie-buffs of all ages.
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