The debut movie of the all-time great director Alain Resnais is a beautifully crafted gem, with an intelligent, challenging screenplay by Marguerite Duras.
Emmanuelle Riva stars as Elle, a French actress who has an affair a Japanese man while she is in Japan making an anti-war film about the impact of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Elle recalls how she was punished as a wartime collaborator after an affair during the war with a 23-year-old German soldier (Bernard Fresson), who was killed. Eiji Okada co-stars as Elle’s lover, a married Japanese architect, whose life has been ruined by the Hiroshima atomic explosion in which he lost his family.
Strikingly filmed in black and white by Sacha Vierny and Takahashi Michio, Resnais’s haunting, thoughtful 1959 film subtly explores the way personal and political issues intersect. It is one of the key world cinema films of its time.
It also features Stella Dassas as Mother and Pierre Barbaud as Father.
It is produced by Samy Halfon, Anatole Daumon, Sacha Kamenka and Takeo Shirakawa, scored by Giovanni Fusco and Georges Delerue, designed by Antoine Mayo, and made by Rialto, Argos, Como, Pathé, Daiei, Cocinor and Zenith.
Resnais went on to make Last Year at Marienbad (1961).
RIP French film icon aged 89. Her 60-year career climaxed in an Oscar nomination for Michael Haneke’s Amour.
© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 4885
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