1914: Duras - Hiroshima Mon Amour

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1914: Duras - Hiroshima Mon Amour

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Jan 2, 2014, 10:01 am

Reposted from my Club Read 2013 thread:

Hiroshima Mon Amour by Marguerite Duras
Screenplay with synopsis and notes by the author, as well as stills from the film
Filmed 1959, first published in book form 1960
Translated by Richard Seaver 1961


A French woman and a Japanese man meet in Hiroshima where the woman is playing a part in a film "about Peace." Though both are happily married, they fall in love with each other and spend the night together. In the morning she tells him she must leave Japan the following day, and they will never see one another again. "You saw nothing in Hiroshima. Nothing," he tells her. "I saw everything. Everything," she insists. Their conversation is interwoven with horrific images of the atomic bomb and its aftermath.

As the day passes and the filming ends, the man persists in seeing the woman and extracting the details of a personal history that has made her suddenly so melancholy. During World War II in her native city of Nevers, she fell in love with a German soldier. As the Allies advanced upon the city the soldier made plans for her to escape to Bavaria with him, but on the day they were to leave he was shot by a resistance fighter. He died in her arms. She was accused of collaboration and had her head shaved. Insane with grief, she was locked in a cellar for months.

What this script does is give us two powerful images of war and its impact: the very public horror of Hiroshima, and the intense private tragedy of the woman of Nevers.

The book gives us Marguerite Duras's instructions to the director and background sketches on the characters. Frequently she gives options for how a scene should be shot or alternative dialogue, and footnotes tell us which choices the director, Alain Resnais, made. The numerous photographs are well-chosen to illustrate how her directions were implemented and they give a good feel for the film overall.

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