Hiroshima mon Amour

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Hiroshima mon Amour

Postby jcdavies » Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:00 pm

(I couldn't find a thread- was going to add these thoughts to it. )

An issue that sticks with me is the thin line between love that crosses national boundaries and wartime collaboration with a hideous ideology. Here we have, in the WW2 section at Nevers, a young woman with an all-consuming individual instinct for a young man who shares her feelings. Is it a selfish urge? Should she have given more thought not only to her own personal consequences, but also to the communal good? Are her actions really worthy of the punishment- with no distinction made between collaboration for greed, power, repression, and simple love that pays no heed to its situation. As a couple they are caught at a certain moment in time and space- there's a sense of fate/chance/destiny controlling lives; the fate that condemns so many to die from the bomb, and brings the Frenchwoman and the Japanese man together. The film blurs and quietly questions clear moral boundaries, encourages us to (re)consider standard judgements.

I despise nationalism and the notion that humans must automatically obey the orders of patriotism and artificial boundaries, when we are all one race, but i also despise Nazism and everything it stood for. Is she a collaborator with Nazism or is her (and her German lover's) attitude in fact a form of resistance to Nazi nationalism and ideas of racial purity- then replicated in a very different, now acceptable, situation with the Japanese man? There seems to be an extra complexity through the fact that the Japanese were of course the Germans' wartime allies.

At the time of its release, it was widely praised as among the very greatest films; its reputation deserves to be restored. Its haunting and very beautiful handling of memory and the elusive nature of truth, along with the continuing fallout of the atom bomb, was innovative and influential and it certainly stands the test of time.
jcdavies
 


Re: Hiroshima mon Amour

Postby justindeimen » Wed Aug 23, 2006 5:28 pm

Oh this seems like an interesting film. I've got the DVD but have not thought about it for quite a while. I'll take a look later this week and post my thoughts. Thanks.
justindeimen
 

Re: Hiroshima mon Amour

Postby A » Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:13 pm

I saw this in the cinema sometimelast year, and liked it very much (especially the wonderful beginning). But I don't think I have been considering your interesting questions, John. I'll try to keep them in mind the next time. For all others who haven't seen it, this is recommended.
A
 

Re: Hiroshima mon Amour

Postby jcdavies » Thu Aug 24, 2006 7:23 pm

Well, i think it can be appoached from various angles as it raises a lot of interesting issues. It's also easily forgotten that in 1959, inter-racial relationships were actually still quite controversial in many countries- there was racial segregation in the US, for instance. The film doesn't labour its points- the mind boggles trying to imagine a Hollywood film handling such topics with even half the finesse- though some might find the dialogue repetitions a bit mannered and pretentious.

The early scenes remind a little of Woman in the Dunes- the sensual contours and textures of the bodies etc. There's a lingering sense of melancholy and irreparable damage (emotionally in Riva's case and physically in so many others from the bomb), something lost, a resignation; after such a first love other relationships can never quite have that edge or passion, yet she's intent on getting on with life, doing good, remains a decent sensitive person.

And when it comes to it, isn't memory, however flawed, all we have? At the end of our lives, it will be our memories (and regrets) that count for us. Kore-eda's After Life takes this to a precise, less subtle, conclusion.
jcdavies
 

Re: Hiroshima mon Amour

Postby A » Thu Aug 24, 2006 9:48 pm

My one problem was that I didn't like the characters, though that is surely a minor point. Your observations are really fine, and maybe I'm writing this post simply in the hope that there's more to come. If you keep on writing, I might like your sentences more than the actual film.
A
 

Re: Hiroshima mon Amour

Postby collectedsoul » Fri Aug 25, 2006 9:24 pm

I LOVE this movie. It is one of my all-time favourites. The thing that makes it so so special is the tone, the warm, non-judgmental acutely observant tone. This film lingers adoringly on its characters trying to understand them, giving us, the viewers, time to dwell on them. I just loved the mood this film created. It is SUCH a gorgeous film.
I have been desperately trying to find other Resnais films ever since I saw this one.
collectedsoul
 

Re: Hiroshima mon Amour

Postby wpqx » Sat Aug 26, 2006 6:31 am

I've seen several Resnais films, and a couple of which I found much better, albeit different. Last Year at Marienbad is very hit or miss, I've seen 5 star ratings for it, and even saw it listed in a book of the 50 worst films ever made, so its definitely polarizing. I would probably vote for Providence as my favorite fictional film of his, although his most accessible Mon Oncle Amerique is also well worth checking out. I'd like to eventually see Muriel again as I think I didn't devote the proper attention to it first time around.
wpqx
 

Re: Hiroshima mon Amour

Postby jcdavies » Sat Aug 26, 2006 8:52 pm

I've had very mixed reactions to Resnais: Last Year at Marienbad is excellent too, in fact it's about time i saw it again. I liked Smoking/No Smoking + Providence but Muriel left me quite cold and i disliked On Connait la Chanson with its sung dialogue, though at least it showed he was still willing to experiment, take risks. La Guerre est Finie was worthwhile. Night and Fog says as much about the holocaust as, and much more economically than, the mammoth Shoah. Not seen Mon Oncle d'Amerique, which seems to polarise reactions.
jcdavies
 

Re: Hiroshima mon Amour

Postby A » Sun Aug 27, 2006 5:13 pm

Besides Hiroshima mon amour, I've only seen Smoking (1993) which I found mediocre (but that might change if I ever watch No Smoking ), and L'amour a mort (1984), which I found even better than Hiroshima. A beautifully shot exploration of death and love it is very refined in its multi-layered and fragmented approach. Colors also play an important part in it (similar to Zhang Yimou's ying xiang (2002)). If you like Hiroshima mon amour, this comes with a high recommendation.
A
 


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