Hiroshima mon amour has beautifully converted the intricate the emotional and psychological problems of its protagonist on the celluloid. The graphics have been enabled by the Alain Resnais to epitomize the psychological complexity verbal expressions hardly explain. The movie provides the “visual exploration of Riva’s attempts to come to terms with her memories and her present love affair at a moment of emotional crisis. ” (Hiroshima mon amou, p. 6) The movies illustrates the metaphysical aspects of time i. e. unity of time, in a beautiful way.
In the apparent story of one day or a little, it has encompassed a time span of fourteen years in it. Some critics are of the view that too much subtleness and intellectual exercise has marred the cinematic illustration and led it to the level of abstractness. The love affair between a French actress Elle and Japanese architect Lui and its various ma thematic and consequential expressions are not single facets of the more philosophical and intellectual thought. It tries to locate the obscure parallels and juxtapositions between life and death, delight and misery, society and individual and East and West.
It juxtaposes the East and West socio-cultural manifestations through a sequence of intercut shorts of Hiroshima and Nevers. But at a more subtle level it juxtaposes the Riva’s past with her present. It tries to locate the working of inner recesses of mind in the psychological battle to get rid of the imposed past and self-discovery. The repetition of past images and it juxtaposition with present scenarios depicts the intellectual battle. “This theme of memory and the process of psychological accommodation to memory is the dynamic center of the film. Hiroshima mon amour is a film about memory. ” (Hiroshima mon amou, p8)
The celluloid presentation of conversion of agonizing nostalgia and painful memory into an aesthetic and ecstatic into an aesthetic and ecstatic experience in not a simple phenomenon as “a strip of celluloid moves ceaselessly through a projector gate, thereby allowing the viewer only a short period of time to react to the images on the screen. It is not necessarily the most suited to deep even tender lyrical reflection. ” (Hiroshima mon amou, p. 9) But Alain Resnais’ prowess creates a celluloid epitome of this transformation through integration of non-mainstream narrative, visual style and montage.
The non-mainstream narrative is presented through interior dialogue of the characters. For example in a scene Riva starts talking o her mirror image in the bathroom of the Hotel New Hiroshima. Her tete-a-tete to her German lover and its juxtaposition with the Hotel New Hiroshima reveals a lot about this transformation. The address in non-mainstream narrative whereas it juxtaposition with hotel is visual artistry of Alain Resnais. Alain Resnais further illustrates the theme of transformation through effective utilization of motifs for example water. “Water is a total symbol in Hiroshima mon amour.
It is the setting and the emblem of love, both as creation and destruction. It is linked with death from the beginning of the film because of the persistent fear of radiation brought in by the rain and because of the dead fish from the sea. ” (Hiroshima mon amou, p. 8) It is juxtaposed with the distressing images from post-World War Il documentaries that portrays the horrors of victimization through radioactivity. The other conspicuous montage is the dome formed of skeletal of victims of nuclear war stretching from a surviving building to hub of the bomb blast, put adjacent to Riva’s extended fingers on her lover’s back in the act of love.
The constant use of clumsy hands, blood littered hands also symbolizes the human effort (clumsy hands) to destroy himself (blood littered hands). One of the most constant forms of theme and variation in Resnais’s works is manifest in techniques of interior duplication. Much of Hiroshima mon amour is structured on a carefully worked out system of doubles. There are two principal cities: Hiroshima and Nevers, two love affairs (In Hiroshima Riva is picked up twice in cafes. though the first encounter with Okada is only alluded to), two major periods of time, and many claim that there are even two films.
(Hiroshima mon amou, p. 18) The movie further explores the correlation between history and body. (The Literature and the Enactment of Memory, p. 26) As stated earlier, Riva’s painful memories turns into an aesthetic experience. Same is experienced buy history that after visiting the pathos and miseries of war, a 1959 Hiroshima depicts a new beginning. It not the beginning of Riva’s independence from past but also of history. As Interior monologue has been a steady technique used by Alain Resnais to demonstrate their characters’ inner states, so is the exterior of the city to show the new beginning.
It is epitomized through the neon lights in the night. The idea of momentary character of subsistence is reinforced by inter-cutting the early scenes i. e. “post-bombing stills and quasi-realistic newsreel footage”. The visual style is equal to literary device of stream of consciousness that disjoints the times but “The narrative structure of Hiroshima mon amour is [made] unified in part because of the mechanical repetition of a number of thematic elements: hands. Hair bicycles water. watches, and clocks, and also through the use of musical leitmotifs on the sound track.
” (Hiroshima mon amou, p. 18) Characters are such drawn that they illustrate the emotional and psychological complexities. The acting of protagonists, Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, is marked with sound presentation of internal emotional trauma. In Hiroshima Mon Amour, Resnais and Marguerite Duras, not only follow the path of modern writers as Marcel Proust, Albert Camus, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Bergson by employing stream of consciousness instead oif the conventional linear narrative style visually, but they have personified their modern thematic expressions especially human isolation .
Consequently, Hiroshima Mon Amour explores, in its theme and tone, the lives of people desperately alienated; they are not separated in their physical domains but more at emotional and psychological domains. And this separation and isolation is manifested not only by story but also by the form of the movie.