Hiroshima mon amour

France, 1959

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A French actress, in Hiroshima to take part in a film about peace, has a brief affair with a Japanese man. As they discuss the horror and consequences of the nuclear destruction of the city, the woman slowly, hesitantly begins to reveal the story of her own individual horror when she was punished for loving a German soldier during World war II. Combining footage of the destruction of Hiroshima, the film eschews linear narrative and instead moves back and forth between the past and present, exploring the effects of memory and trauma. Scripted by novelist Marguerite Duras, “Hiroshima Mon Amour” heralded a new phase for international cinema, a precursor to the New Wave, and the development of a cinema that would explore contemporary questions of philosophy and politics. Though the “stories” which the film explores are powerfully involving, the formal structure of the film forces the viewer to confront his or her own personal construction of “memory” as mediated through film and history. The film shows the impossibility of “explaining” Hiroshima but also convincingly explores the need to permanently interrogate the conditions which led to Hiroshima.

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