Love, Death, and Atomic Bombs

Two bodies are knotted together like sick trees in an unmade bed. He is a Japanese architect and an army conscript. She is a French actress. And somewhere in the darkened space they share, the Little Boy mushroom cloud is still blooming and the white-hot atomic fires keep spreading.

He says, “You saw nothing in Hiroshima. Nothing.” But she insists, “I saw everything.” She tries to reconstruct the city that the American bombs destroyed by mentally touring hospitals and museums. There were charred stones, twisted metal, bundles of burned bottle caps, scorched hair, and a dress pattern seared into a girl’s flesh. But he dismisses her memories. There are no answers.

In Alain Resnais’s 1959 proto-New Wave masterpiece, Hiroshima Mon Amour, we never learn the names of these two lovers. They remain only he and she, stumbling together through the rubble of a scorched city and their own lives.
Sun., Aug. 15, 8 p.m., 2010


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