Alain Resnais directs Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada and Bernard Fresson in this French New Wave romance set in a rebuilt Hiroshima.
Full of gorgeous, unforgettable shots. The first twenty minutes are hard going as we are shown documentary footage of the scarred survivors of the nuclear fallout intercut with a pair of naked bodies intertwined. It would be an injustice to say the movie settles after that, it keeps playing with time and memory, but it becomes more palatable. Two handsome lovers, with different lingering but fading traumas from World War II, walk the streets of a city only recently levelled. It is knowingly pretentious for long swathes but the beauty and the psychological grit of it wins out. I’m struggling to think of any other New Wave movie that engages with world history quite so confidently. Some solid stray cat action also occurs between the angst and yearning.
Perfect Double Bill: Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
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