Hiroshima Mon Amour (1958)
A French woman (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese man (Eiji Okada) engage in a brief, intense romance in Hiroshima. She has come to Japan to star in a film about peace; he is an architect whose wife is out of town. In a series of deep conversations the two protagonists intertwine their stories with pondering the devastation wrought by the atomic bomb dropped on the city.
The first feature film of Alain Resnais is one of the most influential works in the history of cinema. The script of Hiroshima Mon Amour was written by Magritte Duras at that time already an acclaimed novelist. She wrote the scenario in two months while working closely with the director. Time, memory and affect are recurring themes in Resnais’ entire oeuvre. Personal memory and historical memory to him are inseparable.
Although the film premiered outside of the main competition in Cannes for ‘diplomatic reasons’ – presumably not to offend the U.S – it won the International Critics Award and later gained an Oscar nomination for Best Scenario, establishing Resnais international reputation.
Moreover, the film changed the cinematic culture and became a pioneer of the French New Wave. With its mixture of reality and fantasy, documentary images and fictional flashbacks, Resnais created a non-linear fragmented storyline, formerly only known in literature, making the film a true love-child of a filmmaker and a novelist.