Friday, 10 August 2012

Analysis on Selected Movie-Hiroshima Mon Amour

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Hiroshima, mon amour (Alain Resnais,1959). 
Retrieved from

The impact of the Nouvelle Vague on film makers around the world reinvented the language of cinema, and elevated the status of the director to one of reverence and commentator. Hiroshima Mon Amour was directed by Alan Resnais in 1959. Resnais was part of the Left Bank intellectual crowd in the late 50s during French New Wave movement.

Hiroshima, mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1959) tells the story of a French woman’s (played by Emmanuelle Riva) love affair with a Japanese man in postwar Hiroshima. Throughout the time they spent together, they had an intense discussion of what the woman has seen in Hiroshima. There were also several flashbacks of the woman’s past, where she recounts the affair she had with a young German soldier in her hometown, Nevers.

Beginning with a lengthy montage sequence with some evocative tracking shots down a hospital corridor in Hiroshima, the film feels like an abstract experiment in editing, juxtaposing voice over with starkly composed imagery of victims of the American nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.

Tracking shot in the hospital corridor in Hiroshima.

The movie’s most prominent characteristic is its use of flashbacks to create an elliptical storyline, a revolutionary move during the time when most movies uses a more linear way of storytelling. Resnais’ intention is to illustrate the woman’s train of thought, which goes back and forth in time to relate with the events that is recurring in her life. For example, as she is having a conversation with the Japanese man, she recalls back the time she had an affair with the German soldier, and is convinced that her relationship this time will be doomed too.

This editing technique is one of the key characteristics of the French New Wave. The dialogue in the movie is also a strong example of the filmmaking techniques employed in the French New Wave. The repetitive conversation between the pair of lovers propels the movie ahead rather than the development of the story itself. As opposed to following a very definite structure of beginning and ending the movie, the screenplay of Marguerite Duras uses the duality of situations the woman is facing—memory and forgetfulness, love and pain, embrace and separation, past and present—to form the structure of the movie.

The conversation between a pair of lovers from Hiroshima Mon Amour.

The use of actual locations in Hiroshima, mon amour is also a characteristic of French New Wave cinema. Resnais shot most of the film in the streets and buildings of Japan as opposed to studio sets or sound stages.

 Hiroshima's street view. Retrieved from Hiroshima, mon amour (Alain Resnais,1959) 


Anatole Dauman&Samy Halfon (Producer), Alain Resnais (Director). (1959). Hiroshima mon amour. France: Pathe Films

Michel Ciment&Laurence Kardish (2002) "Hiroshima mon amour", Positif, 50 years, Museum of Modern Art Publications: pp 49-58.

Marguerite Duras (1961) Hiroshima mon amour, New York, Grove Press:pp15-26.


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