Alain Resnais’ groundbreaking first feature, Hiroshima Mon Amour, was a springboard for the French New Wave movement and its influence continues to this day. A nameless French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) engage in a brief, passionate affair in post-war Hiroshima. Their deeply intense connection brings out scarred memories of love and suffering, which Resnais’ communicates with the use of flashback techniques innovative to that time. Hiroshima Mon Amour received an Academy Award(R) nomination for Best Screenplay. Jean-Luc Godard had high praise for the film’s originality, describing its inventiveness as “the first film without any cinematic references”.
An extraordinary and deeply moving film that retains much of its power since its original release in 1959, Alain Resnais's Hiroshima, Mon Amour is the story of a French woman (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese man (Eiji Okada) who become lovers in the city of Hiroshima, where the US dropped a nuclear bomb to end World War Two in the Pacific. Written by Marguerite Duras and juggled, as if by wandering thoughts, in chronology and setting by Resnais, the film reveals the miserable and mortifying experiences of each character during the war and suggests the obvious healing properties of their relationship in the present. An emotional allusion or two can certainly be made with the more recent The English Patient, but nothing can quite prepare one for Resnais's extreme yet intuitively accessible experiments in fusing the past, present and future into great sweeps of subjectively experienced memory. Yet audiences have never had trouble relating to this bold milestone of the French New Wave, largely because at its heart is a genuinely affecting, soulful love story.