Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

16 June 2008

Memories of the Bomb

I loved Alain Resnais's 1959 film Hiroshima Mon Amour, which I saw last week.

The plot (such as there is one) centers around a French actress from Nevers, France, who has a brief affair with a man from Hiroshima, Japan in the late 1950s. The couple fall in love gradually, but spend the entirety of their time together talking about both Nevers and Hiroshima. They exchange memories of their beloved cities and memories of the war that separated the two countries in the 1930s and 1940s. In this respect, the film is a lot like Resnais's L'Année Dernière à Marienbad because it is about memory and how memories of the past bleed into life lived in the present. The film is filled with imagery of the city of Hiroshima and its people, both ravaged by the destruction of the atomic bomb. Strangely, Hiroshima Mon Amour is as much a film about horror as it is one about passion. There are some terrifying images in the movie, but it is mostly a story of letting go, of love and of pain.

If you love Japanese cinema you must see it. It is basically a Japanese movie made by a Frenchman. Highly recommended.