Director: Alain Resnais
This film ranked #40 in Time Out's list of the 100 greatest French films. Click here to see the full list.
Hiroshima's mushroom cloud has probably inspired more glib statements and images than any other 20th century phenomenon. So it's particularly refreshing to find that it still has some meaning in Resnais' first feature, now almost thirty years old. Marguerite Duras' script - part nouveau roman, part Mills & Boon - centres on a Japanese man and a French woman coming together in Hiroshima, exploring each other and their past lives, both of which have been far from rosy. The woman was punished as a wartime collaborator after an affair with a German soldier; the man's whole life was shattered by the bomb. Duras and Riva revel masochistically in the woman's sad story (she had her head shaved in prison), but Resnais does his best to soft-pedal the novelettish touches, and presents a melancholy disquisition on the complex relationships between world calamities and personal histories, between the past, present and future.