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Hiroshima Mon Amour: The terrible curse of forgetting.

September 4, 2020

By Óscar Alfonso Díaz

Love is one of the most mysterious things in the world, sometimes a blessing, sometimes an endless desire, and often, an unforgettable memory. Paris is a city of love, the city of passion, considered one of a kind, but Hiroshima, has also been built for love, perhaps, not in it’s origins; she, a French woman, can’t forget, their faces, their bodies, their suffering, and Hiroshima, can’t either, forever painted in the colors of the tragedy, just like Paris, forever painted with the colors of the revolution. Hiroshima, an event so big that it also started its own revolution, and a city to be rebuilt for love of the gone and the new – plants or animals-, whose bodies, forever marked by the event.

He, a Japanese architect and politician, a Hiroshiman sent to war, who lost his entire family in the event, but know, married, he is in love with her, a mysterious French actress.

“Nothing. You know nothing.” He told her when she spoke about how she watched it, the horrors in Hiroshima. The marching, the survivors, the newborns, how could she saw it if she weren’t there?

Memory, proof that time passes every day, and for most of us, a curse, the horrors of the past, maybe the only tool to learn. I know what it is to not know, the pain of knowing that something happened, having proof that it did in fact happen, but what is the use of remembering? Knowing of course, but how long can one remember? And even more haunting, can one remember? Remembering reminds us what we shouldn’t do, what we should do and avoid, it reminds us of the pain that we went, the pain that made us become who we are today.

Hiroshima, marked forever by that pain is now a souvenir for some, and for others a piece of trivia, time is a curse, a curse that deforms, that each second, each hour and day that passes, makes us find new meaning in it. Resnais was sure another war would repeat… But, the film is not only about Hiroshima, isn’t it? No, it is also a remembrance of love, the foundations of who we are today. She remembers her first love, a German soldier, she loved him so much, the way one never stops loving their first love, but when Nevers, the town she grew up in was liberated, her German lover was killed, and she, now a shame for her family is incarcerated inside her parent’s cellar, without food, with only pain, with her bloody fingers, and the remembrance of his German sweetheart. Why should we remember? Cause now her German lover has become a Japanese lover, having an impossible love lead her to suffer the greatest trauma of her life, one that still haunts her to this day, however, there’s no other love as strong as this, there’s no other love as strong as this, she fears and fears, will she take this chance? Will she? In her eternal doubt, she tells the story to him, and now, he knows the pain, he, who only knew the Hiroshiman pain, now knows the Nivernais pain, from the woman who already knew the Hiroshiman pain.

She learned it, when she saw those films, when she saw those people, when she walked through the streets and read the newspapers, when she saw other females. Is just like that how Hiroshima, Mon Amour doesn’t allow us to forget, forgetfulness is the worst sin of all when it comes to pain, cause that only allows all to repeat it again, the only way to preserve it, is to retell it, to share it and not keep it, cause time is also cursed, and makes us not know anymore what we lived through, even if we remember it.

We are allowed to hate our origins, but those, are the foundations of our future, which should always be based on love. The film moved me deeply, words are not enough to describe, how terrible… Why do humans do these things? Was Resnais right? Is the war coming again?

Resnais passed away in 2014, leaving behind a haunting legacy of deep films, who challenge the entire humanity to look back, to never forget, Hiroshima, Mon Amour, is a mesh of documentary sequences, and fictionalized ones, accompanied by poetic prose. The yearn becomes real, and we become aware of it, just as he and she want to love each other, we want them to be together, but we cannot forget. Resnais doesn’t guide us to a solid conclusion, inviting us to think about what one feels about the past, our collective past, our national past, and our international past.

Published on Film


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