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96 Hiroshima mon amour 
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Post Re: 96 Hiroshima mon amour 1959
The New Wave is born in Hiroshima mon amour, the second film I've seen by better-known-as-a-documentarian Alain Resnais. He of Night and Fog fame.

The film feels like a documentary, at least at first, because the film is handled like a documentary -- a long passage recounting the attack on Hiroshima opens the film before a flashback-driven love story takes us into the heart of the film. In short: I loved this film. Every minute of it. Every second of this accidental fiction (the Criterion disc informs me that it was originally written up as a treatment for a documentary on the atomic bomb) feels brand new -- it's as if Resnais had no intention in filming any shot that had even accidentally been filmed before. The film, from 1959, feels exactly like a modern telling -- the quick flashbacks (integrated into otherwise unbroken scenes) are now a staple of modern filmmaking but here they feel, somehow, more comfortable. It frequently reminded me of An Affair of Love, one of the best love stories of recent years. The intimacy that Resnais allows feels not just a little authentic -- it's sincerely touching, and given the documentary-feel, easy to mistake for a dreamy glimpse at lost footage. Too cool. And, even further, I haven't seen Last Year At Marianbad. I've been informed it's a step up (this being Resnais' first non-fiction production) so, really, think of that.

I disagree with Rob on the film's connecting the events of August 6th with the main story -- for me, it deepened the documentary impression as well as deepened the sense that these two married people, one a French actress the other a Japanese architect, couldn't possibly have anything to look forward to. It's a little over-the-top, sure, but it's just about the perfect note to hit when you're on the subject of doom -- you may as well go full-out and embrace the hysterical. These people will be flashing back for the rest of their lives -- the only connection they'll ever have to one another is memory, a quickly remembered/forgotten moment, and the sting of what it was they could have had should the impossible not have happened. That sounds familiar.

I'll throw out further props to the cinematography -- Resnais had an outstanding eye for detail and can bring the loneliness out of a rock. He can make reality feel just as dream-like as it so often seems. The film is slow-paced but not at all boring and it's impossible to not tear up at least a little bit in the closing notes.

Criterion, and they seem to have a knack for this sort of thing, has given the film a transfer worthy of all the praise they usually get. Once again (this for the fourth Criterion in a row) I feel like I could capture any single frame of their transfer and hang it on a wall. The sound, at least on my possibly-scratchy copy, was a bit sketchy but -- no matter -- no subtitles were harmed. I really need to learn French. Wouldn't that be something? You hear about people learning Russian just to read Tolstoy as it was intended. If someone has a tablet that produces endless ambition please let me know.

Rob gives it an 8/10 but I'm 100% sure it's better than that (at least as I read the numbers) and so a high 9/10 is more fitting. This is a good blind-buy if you don't have a Netflix account (although my money remains on Sansho the Bailiff being the greatest thing yet as I move through the Top 100) and you're in the mood for some doomed romance. They call it New Wave but don't let that fill your head with images of Godard and the like. It's New Wave like the French still make films today. I say check it out -- it's a great 90 minutes. And although its inclusion on the list may be the fact that Hiroshima mon amour is the first of its kind it should also be noted that it's one of the best of its kind. Hell, it may be the only of its kind.


Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:31 am
Post Re: 96 Hiroshima mon amour 1959
majoraphasia wrote:
The New Wave is born in Hiroshima mon amour, the second film I've seen by better-known-as-a-documentarian Alain Resnais. He of Night and Fog fame.

The film feels like a documentary, at least at first, because the film is handled like a documentary -- a long passage recounting the attack on Hiroshima opens the film before a flashback-driven love story takes us into the heart of the film. In short: I loved this film. Every minute of it. Every second of this accidental fiction (the Criterion disc informs me that it was originally written up as a treatment for a documentary on the atomic bomb) feels brand new -- it's as if Resnais had no intention in filming any shot that had even accidentally been filmed before. The film, from 1959, feels exactly like a modern telling -- the quick flashbacks (integrated into otherwise unbroken scenes) are now a staple of modern filmmaking but here they feel, somehow, more comfortable. It frequently reminded me of An Affair of Love, one of the best love stories of recent years. The intimacy that Resnais allows feels not just a little authentic -- it's sincerely touching, and given the documentary-feel, easy to mistake for a dreamy glimpse at lost footage. Too cool. And, even further, I haven't seen Last Year At Marianbad. I've been informed it's a step up (this being Resnais' first non-fiction production) so, really, think of that.

I disagree with Rob on the film's connecting the events of August 6th with the main story -- for me, it deepened the documentary impression as well as deepened the sense that these two married people, one a French actress the other a Japanese architect, couldn't possibly have anything to look forward to. It's a little over-the-top, sure, but it's just about the perfect note to hit when you're on the subject of doom -- you may as well go full-out and embrace the hysterical. These people will be flashing back for the rest of their lives -- the only connection they'll ever have to one another is memory, a quickly remembered/forgotten moment, and the sting of what it was they could have had should the impossible not have happened. That sounds familiar.

I'll throw out further props to the cinematography -- Resnais had an outstanding eye for detail and can bring the loneliness out of a rock. He can make reality feel just as dream-like as it so often seems. The film is slow-paced but not at all boring and it's impossible to not tear up at least a little bit in the closing notes.

Criterion, and they seem to have a knack for this sort of thing, has given the film a transfer worthy of all the praise they usually get. Once again (this for the fourth Criterion in a row) I feel like I could capture any single frame of their transfer and hang it on a wall. The sound, at least on my possibly-scratchy copy, was a bit sketchy but -- no matter -- no subtitles were harmed. I really need to learn French. Wouldn't that be something? You hear about people learning Russian just to read Tolstoy as it was intended. If someone has a tablet that produces endless ambition please let me know.

Rob gives it an 8/10 but I'm 100% sure it's better than that (at least as I read the numbers) and so a high 9/10 is more fitting. This is a good blind-buy if you don't have a Netflix account (although my money remains on Sansho the Bailiff being the greatest thing yet as I move through the Top 100) and you're in the mood for some doomed romance. They call it New Wave but don't let that fill your head with images of Godard and the like. It's New Wave like the French still make films today. I say check it out -- it's a great 90 minutes. And although its inclusion on the list may be the fact that Hiroshima mon amour is the first of its kind it should also be noted that it's one of the best of its kind. Hell, it may be the only of its kind.



Nice stuff Majoraphasia

It's a unique film.

A couple of points. The cinematography is as you noted, outstanding. The scene in the bedroom with the naked skin is simply hypnotic.

The rating at 8/10. This is hard because when you watch more than 50 great films in a short period of time there is an inevitable comparison effect. It's not like I gave it 5 :-)

All that said, I'd argue that this is not a good starting point for someone getting into great movies.

Now, I'm really interested to get your views on the gorgeous new Marianbad transfer from Criterion.
Rob


Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:03 pm
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Post Re: 96 Hiroshima mon amour
Wow I'm surprised it reminded you of An Affair of Love, Mjr. Aphasia, since I found that film to be accessible, realistic, engaging...in short, everything Hiroshima mon amour is not.

I can buy that this is an important film, but it's by no means a good one. I can't believe it's on the list, since I thought it was a completely failed film, a combination of documentary (on the atomic bomb no less) and love story that goes together about as well as candy corn and foie gras. To quote another film in the 'advanced' list, "it doesn't have the merits of an avant-garde film, but it has all the drawbacks."

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Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:19 pm
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Post Re: 96 Hiroshima mon amour
Hiroshima mon amour is one of the unique film I watched yesterday. You can see how those people in Hiroshima come together and fight for own lives.



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Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:18 am
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