Director: Alain Resnais
Runtime: 90 minutes
Country: France, Japan
Language: French, Japanese, English
Cannes International Film Festival 1959
BAFTA Awards 1961
“The illusion, quite simply, is so perfect, that tourists weep. It’s easy to be cynical. But what else can a tourist possibly do, but weep?”
– Elle in Hiroshima Mon Amour
Alain Resnais’ first narrative feature, Hiroshima Mon Amour reconstructs historical trauma through meditations of personal memory and subjective remembrance. Set in post-war Hiroshima, a French actress engages in a brief and intense affair with a Japanese architect broaching old wounds of love and loss.
Originally commissioned as a documentary of Hiroshima twelve years after the bombing, Resnais eschewed realist approaches for more abstract, dream-like sequences. Dust, rubble and skin present an intimate collage of suffering and witness juxtaposed against hypnotic tracking shots of the newly-built modern city and newsreel footage of the bombing (some of which were reenactments). Resnais presents Hiroshima as a meditative site of emerging modernity, anchoring an imagination of Asia that gives the West its interiority—a mirror to the French audience’s own collective trauma.
Oldham Theatre’s opening hours
The full Orienting Paradise: Western Projections of the East programme can be found here. Tickets will go on sale Friday, 25 March 2022.
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