Friday, June 21, 2013

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Hiroshima Mon Amour is a 1959 French/Japanese film directed by Alain Resnais (Last Year at Marienbad). The striking score is by Georges Delerue and Giovanni Fusco. The Wikipedia plot description begins with this:
Hiroshima mon amour concerns a series of conversations (or one enormous conversation) over a 36-hour long period between a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva), referred to as She, and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada), referred to as He. They have had a brief relationship, and are now separating. The two debate memory and forgetfulness as She prepares to depart,
I seem to be reading a lot of books and seeing a lot of movies that feature memory as a concept or central element. This one is painful to watch. Those memories we are so sure of: how much have we actually forgotten? Isn't is sometimes a blessing to forget? how closely does our memory come to what actually happened? Do our memories help form who we are, or does who we are shape our memories? if we no longer remember something, does it cease to affect us? Does forgetting something change us? does sharing a memory protect us from its loss? is there any way to know?

via youtube:

It is included in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. DVD Talk says, "Is Hiroshima mon amour a great picture? Definitely yes, although modern audiences may not appreciate how revolutionary its flashback structure was at the time, when all flashbacks needed very literal preparation." The Spinning Image says, "Hiroshima Mon Amour is an excellent film ..., as a work of the cinematic arts, and as a chart of the human psyche’s difficulties in dealing with memory." The critics score at Rotten Tomatoes is 100%.


  1. I had heard of this, but never watched it. You are right, it is very painful. And ugly, and beautiful, at once. So many great scenes!

    I think perhaps it´s aging, I have also concerned myself with memory lately. I get apprentices at work who are born in 1994, or thereabouts. I had a whole life before 1991 that I never speak to anyone about (none of those people are in my life anymore), and now I remember hardly anything about it. I can´t decide if it´s a loss or a gift.

    1. it's a gift in my opinion. i think some things are best forgotten.