A French woman and a Japanese man have an affair while she is in Japan making a film about peace and the impact of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, The man, an architect, lost his family in the bombing. She recalls her lover during the war, a 23 year-old German soldier who later died. Despite the time they spend together, her attachment appears minimal and they go forward into the future.Written by
The scene in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum early in the film includes several scenes from the 1953 Japanese film Hiroshima (1953), which starred Japanese actor Eiji Okada, who also plays the leading role in this movie. For obvious reasons, no footage that featured Okada from the earlier Japanese production was included. See more »
When Elle leaves the hotel to go the set, she is wearing a nurse's uniform with a headscarf and carrying a black handbag. When Lui meets her on the set, she is now wearing a skirt and blouse and still has the headscarf. When they leave the set, the headscarf is left behind. When they get to Lui's house, she now has a white jacket. See more »
Where are you going? To Nevers?
No, Paris. I'll never set foot in Nevers again.
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A complex view of humans and how they cope when their worlds become tragic
This film has been compared to "Citizen Kane," not because of the story itself, but the way it is told, and through innovative artistic devices. The screenplay is highly poetic even when describing destruction, death, and madness. Several jump cuts in time occur with voice-over, and, at the beginning, voice-over during a montage of frightening images from the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing and the bodies of the two lovers in bed. The characters represent different cities; the Japanese man, Hiroshima, the French woman, a city in France, Nevers (was this intentional?), but the latter might as well represent any outside nation. While "Hiroshima," even after being destroyed by an "ally" of France, falls in love with her and wants her to stay, despite his claims that she can never know what the bombing was really like, yet leaving this in the past without forgetting, "France" is hung up on a dead Nazi soldier whom she had loved, and became an outcast because of it. What the soldier really seems to represent is not the Nazis, but rather a real, true love that transcended nationalities and associations. France's past is personal and fears forgetting it, while Hiroshima's is communal and, while not wanting to forget, also wants to move ahead. For this reason Hiroshima keeps trying to convince France to stay so that they can be in love, but France is too preoccupied with its own personal ghost that it cannot share, which is why it is a major breakthrough for her when she tells her tragic story for the first time to anyone, Hiroshima. Hiroshima's past tragedy being communal is shared and it wants to share with the rest of the world. France's tragedy is personal and is only beginning to be shared. It takes the entire film before the two characters can get to a beginning of something more than their differences and likenesses of tragedy and loss in the past, and this beginning is who they really are, in the present, two people reborn from these tragedies.
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