Thursday, February 23, 2006


She comes to Hiroshima from Paris 14 years after the bomb in order to work on a film about peace. He lives in Hiroshima and speaks French because he's in international relations. They do the deed, and discuss horror and memory and love and death, their entwined bodies interspersed with footage of nuclear mutants, dessicated corpses, women losing their hair in clumps, charred buildings...

She is able to tell her story for the first time because in Hiroshima--a place completely obliterated and begun anew--memory is paramount, and having a love affair with a stranger frees her spirit and her repression falls away. Her story is awful, full of forbidden love and misery and horrid revenge. Like the world. I shan't spoil it for you.

He wants her to stay, but she has to return. They each have spouses and "real" lives.

Even in war and misery, amongst bitter regret and profound atrocity--love blooms, like those mutated blossoms erupting around Hiroshima after the cataclysm.

I liked it a lot, even more than the other excellent Alain Resnais film:

The screenplay, penned by Marguerite Duras, is very reminiscent of her novel-memoirs, with the past/present continuously intruding upon each other in a melange. This non-linearity is essential if one hopes to create a more exact representation of human experience. Very few of us live now--most of us live years ago or in some hoped-for imagined future, and Resnais' New Wave style is up to the task of filming such a jumbled narrative. I can see Wong Kar Wai evolving out of Hiroshima mon Amour.

I have some issues with the editing and pacing of this documentary about Henry Darger, but with such bizarre source material one can't help but be engaged. Darger's curious lifework is presented mostly in animations based on his drawings and collages--after a while these animations and the fervent voiceovers of his writings began to wear thin, but the curious subject of the film rises above its faults in presentation. Worth a peep if you like outsider art/psychoanalytic theory/crazy people.

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