Only If You Like French New Wave: Hiroshima Mon Amour

20110517-093119.jpgThis is a film that everyone always referred to when I was in film school and I never let on that I hadn’t actually seen it. After watching it my MFA feels a bit more legitimized–but if you are not an art film lover, or one of those people who think the wandering story lines, rolling dolly shots and overly dramatic female characters of French New Wave films are brilliant, this film is probably not for you.

If I had to summarize the style in the most simple terms: no three act structure or linearity. Lots of beautiful and haunting visuals. Poetry, not a standard script or “realistic” acting.

One of the things I appreciate about this film is its portrayal of memory. Usually in films memories are full miniature linear stories visually represented by some kind of blur after a close up on a character’s face cueing audiences that we are entering a flashback.

Hiroshima Mon Amour weaves memory in a way much more similar to our brain’s process–you may be having a beautiful moment with your lover and look at his hand and all the sudden your mind flashes to the hand of someone you love who died. Our brains are constantly jumping back and forth in Time this way. Ironically though, it can be incredibly confusing to watch this in a film–probably because it’s not your own brain that’s making the jumps. But cut together with lush and striking imagery like in this film, it can be an interesting story telling technique allowing audiences to slowly piece together a fragmented history of the two characters.

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