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Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love)

Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love) (1959)

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Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 0

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Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 9,437

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Movie Info

Alain Resnais's multi-award-winning Hiroshima, Mon Amour is neither an easy film to watch nor to synopsize, but it remains one of the high-water marks of the French "new wave" movement. Resnais and scenarist Marguerite Duras weave a complex story concerning a French actress's (Emmanuelle Riva) experiences in occupied France, juxtaposed with the horrendous ordeal of a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) coping psychologically with the bombing of Hiroshima. These stories are offered in quick flashback

Unrated,

Drama, Romance

Marguerite Duras

Jun 24, 2003

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March 3, 2014:
Alain Resnais: 1922-2014
The acclaimed French film director has passed away at the age of 91.
May 4, 2011:
Five Favorite Films with Rutger Hauer
In a busy career tracing back to the late 1960s, Dutch actor Rutger Hauer has carved out a unique...

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All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (0) | DVD (15)

Although it presents, on occasion, a baffling repetition of words and ideas, much like vaguely recurring dreams, it, nevertheless, leaves the impression of a careful coalescence of art and craftsmanship.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Integrating past and present, poetic images and documentary footage, music and Marguerite Duras' dialogue, the film achieved a structural balance of such emotional and intellectual power that audiences were stunned.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I can't say I really enjoyed myself watching Hiroshima mon amour. Resnais' style is deliberately off-putting - the thought of entertaining an audience seems repugnant to him - but I respect the film for its audacious storytelling.

January 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Though made in the late 50s, Hiroshima's imagery and music give it a feel at once modern and timeless, this is a beautiful piece of work.

August 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

It's one of the landmark French New Wave films that featured innovative flashback techniques.

August 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Resnais' audacious work in narrative and temporal structure, with screenplay from Duras, the film has endured due to its lyrical quality in depicting a love affair between a French actress and a Japanese architect in post WWII; a must-see for film lovers

March 2, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Landmark French New Wave film--a must for movie buffs

February 23, 2007
Old School Reviews

Unforgettable.

December 4, 2006
ColeSmithey.com

As a milestone of film, Hiroshima, Mon Amour cannot be overestimated.

March 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A somewhat stilted but still emotionally and intellectually engaging glimpse at profound and challenging questions of the role of memory in our sense of identity.

October 25, 2003 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

A truly 'modern' film.

August 30, 2003 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

Resnais is one of the few true directors to evoke such a cerebral cinema.

July 11, 2003
eFilmCritic.com

one of the most significant films of the French New Wave

June 23, 2003 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

...a beautiful, thrilling film. At least that's how I remember it.

December 26, 2002 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

One of the greatest and most auspicious feature-film debuts in the history of cinema.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love)

arresting, beautiful and poetic incantation on memory, time and identity
June 19, 2007
brooklynspo

Super Reviewer

"Hiroshima Mon Amour" (1959), Alain Resnais' debut feature length project is a baffling film, one that is extremely difficult to even summarize in a synopsis!

[img]https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-VULdY_rocbw/UKzcdhpBmoI/AAAAAAAADIw/cxJ1dLTReoI/s480/vlcsnap-2012-11-21-19h10m51s124.jpg[/img]

We are (almost) introduced to two characters in a passionate clinch, their faces not shown, conversing with one another, although it is mostly a one-sided conversation. The woman keeps saying things about knowing, and seeing Hiroshima closely, while the man keeps interjecting and contradicting her. She insists that she has seen and remembers a lot about Hiroshima but he contradicts her again saying that she is "not endowed with memory"! The conversation happens against a strange background score, and shocking visuals, some of which is part of actual documentary footage of the irreparable damage done to human life and property during the tragic Hiroshima bombings of 1945. The woman continues to talk; although at this point of time we aren't sure exactly which year it is set in, whether during the war or much after it!

The camera glides across corridors of hospitals, bombing sites, showcasing bodies of dead and deformed children, further moving into the homes of survivors who are rendered only half humans, losing hair rapidly, yet trying their best to survive despite being crippled and deformed for life! The visuals of the grisly aftermath keep getting displayed, as almost impassive voiceovers continue to narrate away for the first few minutes.

[img]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-XSQFyOh8hDg/UKzcl3enaVI/AAAAAAAADJI/7WGHjsfUgsU/s480/vlcsnap-2012-11-21-19h18m40s163.jpg[/img]

Soon we cut away from the nightmare-like tone of the initial few minutes and are shown the faces of the conversing couple. A French woman and a Japanese man have just spent the night together. The woman, an actress who hails from Nevers, France, is in Hiroshima to shoot for some scenes in a film she is starring in, while the Japanese man is an architect.

Believe it or not, the rest of the film is like one lengthy conversation with repeated ramblings, sometimes deadpan, sometimes over-emotional, between these two individuals who, after making love one night, find that they are madly in love with each other! Some of the conversation seems random and meaningless, some quite forlorn, while most of it sheds light on the dark past of the woman, particularly revolving around her failed romance.

It is from this vague conversation that one can try and draw some inference as to the central idea of the film. Only on a broad level, it is safe to say, that juxtaposed against the tragedy at Hiroshima, a prominent theme in the film is that of undying love; the loss of loved one(s), and most importantly the memory of such love (or tragedy) that continues to haunt an individual.

[img]https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-HhjJzzXyF1M/UKzckemqXfI/AAAAAAAADI4/UdLEcAvR21I/s480/vlcsnap-2012-11-21-19h15m19s242.jpg[/img]

In one bizarre scene, the lengthiest, perhaps, shot in a bar, the woman, who appears to be a rather fragile, emotionally wounded individual, has a few hours left with the man, before she returns to France. She reminisces in a drunken state, about her first love affair with a German soldier, who got killed. Only we aren't really sure if it's a dream she is narrating or a past, for she seems to be talking in present tense. There are a lot of flashback scenes interspersed, disturbing ones at that, describing how she was punished by confinement to a cellar and having her head shaved off! The woman gets hysterical, cries out loud, gets slapped by the man, then calms down again, constantly narrating the events, referring to the Japanese man as part of the story, although it is actually about the German soldier! During the time he keeps pouring drinks for her and listening to her story, the Japanese man keeps reiterating how much he is in love with her and would like to be with her!

[img]https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-u1X9T4fLp9A/UKzclAW_OEI/AAAAAAAADJA/Cl-V1psC4Q4/s480/vlcsnap-2012-11-21-19h18m04s67.jpg[/img]

It's all befuddling but you do find yourself giving in to the strange but strikingly original narrative. There's this soul-stirring background music score, top-notch cinematography, a partially great atmosphere, moody story-telling style, and the use of quick flash backs (a strong influence of the French New Wave). The acting is superlative all the way, by the two leads, most especially Emmanuelle Riva for her spellbinding performance, considering the camera mostly captures every expression on her face for a long time. And finally, there's a sheer uniqueness about "Hiroshima Mon Amour" that makes it a film that deserves great admiration.

Only this this film is no "Last Year at Marienbad" (1961), that stupendous surrealist dreamscape of a film that Resnais followed this up with, and made use of some of the devices used in "Hiroshima Mon Amour" to a significantly greater effect.

Despite a well-written screenplay by Marguerite Duras, "Hiroshima Mon Amour", nevertheless, oscillates between extremely surreal on one hand to extremely documentary-like real on the other, which lets it down slightly. It would've perhaps benefited more, had there been some consistency in its mood. Moreover, it certainly seems a tad long and repetitive even for its modest 90 min length and could've actually been much more accessible if cut short by at least 15 minutes.

Remarkable though; an essential film outing.

[img]https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-F7s9x8oRbZ4/UKzgGqmV3XI/AAAAAAAADJw/NlX_TRKK7L8/s480/vlcsnap-2012-11-21-19h37m13s32.jpg[/img]
November 21, 2012
Aditya Gokhale
Aditya Gokhale

Super Reviewer

Alain Resnais' Hiroshima, Mon Amour is a captivating cogitation on the power of memory.
From the opening shots of Hiroshima, Mon Amour, the long mesmeric tracking shots bring to mind Resnais's previous film, Night and Fog. Also shot on location, the first part of Hiroshima, Mon Amour feels like a documentary as shots of the Hiroshima memorial are juxtaposed with newsreel footage of the actual victims of the disaster. Yet unlike Night and Fog, the documentary doesn't feel objective, but rather personal & distant. Here Resnais displays the inability to cope with a horror of this magnitude. He even shows clips of a Japanese reenactment as part of this woman's mental process in the mueseum, which serves to show how the woman will never know the extent of the tragedy and her thoughts of it are reduced to vapid and shallow conjecture.
It is a film about memory and identity. The film revolves around two lovers who wish to escape the horrors of their past but still retain the beauty which they previously experienced. It is about the necessity of forgetfulness, but also the overwhelming fear that accompanies it.
Resnais also focuses a lot on the skin of the lovers which highlights the frailty of man, which was a crucial idea during the filming of this in 1958 when the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union was ubiquitous.
Although some scenes feel rather laborious to get through, it is a very important film and one that is bound to stir up many emotions in the viewer.
April 22, 2011
axadntpron
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

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