Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Oct 17, 2014 (USA - Rerelease)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - France , Japan   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Michael Hastings

Director Alain Resnais' tone poem on love, annihilation, and the need for compassion grafts the story of two lovers onto a larger philosophical treatise about the horrors of the atomic bomb. We know very little about the unnamed couple (Emmanuelle Riva and Eiji Okada) at the beginning of the film; Resnais is more interested in the fallout from sex -- the memories, regrets, and images that it can conjure, good and bad -- than in its logistics. Casually juxtaposing scenes of tranquility with graphic documentary footage of the aftermath in Hiroshima, Resnais stresses the importance of contact, nuance, and gesture amid the moment-to-moment uncertainty of a post-war world. Novelist-filmmaker Marguerite Duras scripted the film, which uses its interracial romance as a metaphor for international harmony. Resnais' deliberate, ponderous compositions set him apart from most of his New Wave peers, and he is aided by the legendary Sacha Vierny -- one of the few cinematographers who can make a museum visually compelling. Some critics found the film obtuse on its release, but the Academy thought enough of it to nominate Duras for Best Original Screenplay. The director would apply many of Hiroshima's non-linear storytelling techniques to 1961's L'Année dernière à Marienbad.