Hiroshima Mon Amour

Umbrella Entertainment / Region 4

Featuring Emmanuele Riva, Eiji Okada, Bernard Frision

Alain Resnais has long been considered a real high quality director, initially lumped in with other French New Wave auteurs such as Trauffaut, Resnais has always been more than that. His debut feature film, Hiroshima Mon Amour (just released by Umbrella) has also been long regarded as one the finest films of the late 1950’s.

Shot in crisp black and white it is a stunning evocation of both memory and and history and love and loss. Opoening with one of the most famous sequences in art house cinema history, a pair of lovers intertwined as ash falls down upon them, this metaphor of the Hiroshima bomb attack is followed by some at times hard to watch imagery of the aftermath of the original bomb attack, mostly taken from newsreel footage of the time.

Emmanuele Riva is an actress (known only as She) in post world war II Japan who begins an affair with a Japanese architect (He), as their affair progresses She begins to talk about a previous lover, a German soldier who was killed towards the end of the war and She herself was targeted for being a collaborator.

Beautiful and cleverly shot with scenes of Japanese life intercut with She’s life in France, Resnais’s film was a huge influence on directors such as Jean Luc Goddard, who based his whole career pretty much on Resnais’s style in HMA. The movie itself resonated down the years and could even be said to have been an influence on Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove.

A film of lyrical beauty then that remains essential viewing.

Extras include an excellent 50 minute conversation with film historian Peter Gourigan on the films of Resnais and there are also trailers for other umbrella releases.