Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

IMDb plot summary: A French actress filming an anti-war film in Hiroshima has an affair with a married Japanese architect as they share their differing perspectives on war.
Directed by Alain Resnais. Starring Emmanuelle Riva and Eiji Okada.

If you asked me to name my favorite French films, I'd cheerful rattle off Amelie and The City of Lost Children, Amour... and then get stuck. There's just something common to a lot of French films that doesn't sit well with me, and Hiroshima mon amour has it in spades.

While I've never been able to describe it exactly, let me try here. This film is clearly trying to do something big and meaningful. It uses powerful images and themes, plays around with time through flashbacks, hints at layers that are never revealed, gives its lead character long poetic monologues. But none of it works for me in the end because there's an emotional distance, a huge chasm of analytical coldness I can't get over. Maybe it's because of the long poetic monologues, maybe it's because of the barely-hinted-at plotline, maybe it's because of a potentially unreliable narrator, but whatever it may be, I found myself disconnected, admiring but not caring.

1.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Hiroshima mon amour < My Best Friend's Wedding
Hiroshima mon amour > The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)
Hiroshima mon amour < The Hidden Fortress
Hiroshima mon amour < Camp
Hiroshima mon amour > Almost Famous
Hiroshima mon amour > About Last Night...
Hiroshima mon amour < Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
Hiroshima mon amour > Sweet and Lowdown
Hiroshima mon amour < Mud
Hiroshima mon amour > Send Me No Flowers
Final spot: #1616 out of 2316, below Mud and above Send Me No Flowers.

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