Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Hiroshima Mon Amour (Alain Resnais, 1959) [5]

I think that this will need a second viewing after some time but for whatever reason, at the present moment, I don't particularly care for this film. It's not that I think it's horrible because it's not; it is effective at times but for whatever reason I never got into it. I understand Resnais's rationale for the film, that the only way to make a film about an event like Hiroshima is to not make a film about it, but I don't necessarily agree with that. The first ten minutes or so of the film is much more direct in addressing the atomic attack on the city and is the most effective part of the film. The juxtaposition of the images of the museum with the audio of the more personal relationship that takes over the film is a fantastic contrast of themes. It would work so well on its own as a short film. The rest of the film centers more on the relationship of a French actress (the striking Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) as they reconcile with their own histories of the tragic event. Once again, I understand that Resnais feels this is the best way to deal with the bigger ideas of nuclear destruction, guilt, and peace but the two characters' actions are too obtuse for me. If the film were about these two and their relationship without a bigger issue hanging over their head, perhaps it would be successful. Here, it feels too removed in its own "arty" (for lack of a better word) way. I am one who appreciates art film but this film really pushes it into that territory ripe for parody. These characters and their story border so much on such self-absorbed behavior so distant from the viewer that it's hard to like them. Again, I may have just caught this film on an off night for me but it feels too pretentious in its execution to really make me empathize or fully understand it. And I happen to like self-absorption and a pretentious attitude in my cinema. For whatever reason, Resnais's direction here doesn't sit well with me.

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