Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
France/Japan, 1959. Argos Films, Como Films, Daiei Studios, Pathé Entertainment, Pathé Overseas. Screenplay by Marguerite Duras. Cinematography by Michio Takahashi, Sacha Vierny. Produced by Anatole Dauman, Samy Halfon. Music by Georges Delerue, Giovanni Fusco. Production Design by Minoru Esaka, Mayo, Petri, Lucilla Mussini. Costume Design by Gerard Collery. Film Editing by Henri Colpi, Jasmine Chasney, Anne Sarraute.
An epic of intimate proportions, beautifully directed by Alain Resnais. It’s mostly conversations, post-lovemaking, between a Japanese businessman (Eiji Okada, who learned French phonetically for the film) and a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) on location making a film about the Hiroshima bomb. She tells him about her tragic love affair with a German soldier during World War II and the reprisals she faced from her village, opening herself up emotionally in a way that she hasn’t done in the years since it happened. Marguerite Duras’s script is the height of erotic cinema, ages ahead of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s The Lover which was also based on her writing and made more than thirty years later. Like Antonioni’s L’Avventura, this unconventional film contributed to a new film language of story, image and character.
The Criterion Collection: #196
Academy Award Nomination: Best Original Story and Screenplay
Cannes Film Festival: In Competition