Best French Films Home Page

Best French Films Ever.
Top rated French Movies: popular, classic, famous "must watch" Cinema Fançais

39. Hiroshima, Mon Amour

Best French Films Home Page




Search Best French Films website for keyword(s)

Hiroshima Mon Amour concerns the experiences of a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva), referred to as Elle (she), who performs the role of a nurse in a film being shot in post-war Hiroshima. She meets a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada), referred to as Lui (him) and, separated from their spouses, they become lovers. The early part of the film recounts, in the style of a documentary, but narrated by the so far completely unidentified characters, the effects of the Hiroshima bomb on August 6, 1945, in particular the loss of hair and the complete anonymity of the remains of some victims. The man had been conscripted into the Japanese army, and his family were in Hiroshima on that day.

Using flashbacks intercut into the love story set in 1959 — the couple's meetings in hotel rooms and restaurants — the woman relates for the first time her experiences during World War II in Nevers, where she was involved with a young German soldier during the German occupation. She suffered the discrimination of women who had been friendly with Germans; a severe almost bald haircut, before leaving for Paris, her hair regrown, and her anonymity regained. He urges her to stay in Hiroshima, but the situation is untenable.

It was one of the first French New Wave films and made innovative use of flashbacks.

Hiroshima Mon Amour has been described as "The Birth of a Nation of the French New Wave" by American critic Leonard Maltin. New Wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard described the film's inventiveness as "Faulkner plus Stravinsky" and celebrated its originality, calling it "the first film without any cinematic references". Filmmaker Eric Rohmer said, "I think that in a few years, in ten, twenty, or thirty years, we will know whether Hiroshima mon amour was the most important film since the war, the first modern film of sound cinema".

Among the film's innovations is Resnais' experiments with very brief flashback sequences intercut into scenes to suggest the idea of a brief flash of memory. Resnais later used similar effects in Last Year at Marienbad.

According to James Monaco, Resnais was originally commissioned to make a short documentary about the atomic bomb, but spent several months confused about how to proceed because he did not want to recreate his 1955 Holocaust documentary Night and Fog. He later went to his producer and joked that the film could not be done unless Marguerite Duras was involved in writing the screenplay.

The film was a co-production by companies from both Japan and France. The producers stipulated that one main character must be French and the other be Japanese, and also required that the film be shot in both countries employing film crews comprising technicians from each.

In his book on Resnais, James Monaco ends his chapter on Hiroshima mon Amour by claiming that the film contains a reference to the classic 1942 film Casablanca: “ Here is an 'impossible' love story between two people struggling with the imagery of a distant war. At the end of this romantic, poignant movie about leave takings and responsibilities, the two fateful lovers meet in a cafe. Resnais gives us a rare establishing shot of the location. 'He' is going to meet 'She' for the last time at a bar called 'The Casablanca' - right here in the middle of Hiroshima! It's still the same old story. A fight for love and glory. A case of do or die. The world will always welcome lovers. As time goes by.

Hiroshima mon Amour earned an Oscar nomination for screenwriter Marguerite Duras, as well as a special award at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, where the film was excluded from the official selection because of its sensitive subject matter as well as to avoid upsetting the U.S. government.

The film has inspired several songs. One was written by John Foxx and Billy Currie, and initially recorded and performed by their band Ultravox! in 1977. One recorded version of the song is a romantic electronic ballad, notable for showcasing an early use of a drum machine in popular music. Ultravox! also recorded a different arrangement of the song, in an aggressive punk style. This version was covered by the band The Church.
The heavy metal band Alcatrazz also recorded a song titled "Hiroshima Mon Amour" on their debut album, No Parole from Rock N' Roll.
In 2003, the New York-based no wave band My Favorite released "Burning Hearts," which draws upon the main characters in the film.
Punk rock band The (International) Noise Conspiracy's album The Cross of My Calling features a song entitled "Hiroshima Mon Amour."
In 2002 Bryan Ferry released the album Frantic which includes the song "Hiroshima", where the chorus includes the full sentence of "Hiroshima Mon Amour".

In 2001, Japanese film director Nobuhiro Suwa directed a remake, titled H Story.
In 2003 Iranian film director Bahman Pour-Azar released Where Or When. The 85-minute film places Pour-Azar's characters in the same circumstances as Resnais' nearly a half century earlier. However, the current global tension of today's world is the backdrop instead of post-war Hiroshima. When screening the film Stuart Alson, who founded The New York Independent Film and Video Festival, said that the piece was "a parallel line of work with the French masterpiece "Hiroshima Mon Amour".

Directed by Alain Resnais
Produced by Samy Halfon
Anatole Dauman
Written by Marguerite Duras
Starring Emmanuelle Riva
Eiji Okada
Stella Dassas
Pierre Barbaud
Music by Georges Delerue
Giovanni Fusco
Cinematography Michio Takahashi
Sacha Vierny
Editing by Jasmine Chasney
Henri Colpi
Anne Sarraute
Distributed by Pathé Films
Release date(s) France:
June 10, 1959
United States:
May 16, 1960
Running time 90 minutes
Country France / Japan
Language French / Japanese / English



Click here to go to   Click here to go to

The titles (in the US) of the best French films, sorted by title

  Title Year
8 Women2001
Music, Comedy, Crime, Mystery
François Ozon
A Heart in Winter1992
Romance, Drama, Music
Claude Sautet
Beauty and The Beast1946
Fantasy Drama, Romance
Jean Cocteau
Belle de Jour1967
Erotic Drama
Luis Buñuel
Betty Blue1986
Romace, Drama
Jean-Jacques Beineix
Birds Of A Feather1978
Edouard Molinaro
Bitter Moon1992
Sado-masochistic Erotic Drama
Roman Polanski
Drama, Romance
Jean-Luc Godard
Children of Paradise1945
Drama, Romance
Marcel Carne
10 Cyrano de Bergerac1990
Romance, Drama
Jean-Paul Rappeneau
11 Delicatessen1991
Sci-Fi Comedy
Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet
12 Diva1981
Action Thriller, Drama
Jean-Jacques Beineix
13 French Twist1995
Josiane Balasko
14 Hidden2005
Michael Haneke
15 Hiroshima, Mon Amour1959
Romance, Drama
Alain Resnais
16 Jean de Florette1986
Drama, Modernised Greek Tragedy
Claude Berri
17 Jesus of Montreal1989
Denys Arcand
18 Jules et Jim1961
Romance, Drama
François Truffaut
19 La Controverse de Valladolid1992
History (16thC), Drama
Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe
20 La Femme Nikita1990
Crime, Thriller, Romance, Drama
Luc Besson
21 Manon of the Spring1986
Drama, Romance, modernised Greek Tragedy
Claude Berri
22 Monsieur Hire1989
Crime Thriller, Romance, Drama
Patrice Leconte
23 My Life in Pink1997
Comedy Drama
Alain Berliner
24 One Swallow Brought Spring2001
Comedy, Romance, Drama
Christian Carion
25 Queen Margot1994
History (16thC) Drama, Biography, History, Romance
Patrice Chéreau
26 Ridicule1996
History (18thC) Drama
Patrice Leconte
27 Swimming Pool2003
Psychological Thriller, Mystery Drama
François Ozon
28 The 400 Blows1959
Crime Drama
François Truffaut
29 The Big Blue1988
Drama, Romance
Luc Besson
30 The City of Lost Children1995
Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro
31 The Closet2001
Comedy Drama
Francis Veber
32 The Discrete Charm of the Bougoisie1972
Surreal Black Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Luis Buñuel
33 The Dominici Affair1973
Crime Drama Mystery
Claude Bernard-Aubert
34 The Double Life of Veronique1991
Music, Fantasy, Romance, Psychological Drama
Krzysztof Kieslowski
35 The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain2001
Comedy, Romance, Drama
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
36 The Girl On The Bridge1999
Comedy, Romance, Fantasy, Drama
Patrice Leconte
37 The Hate1995
Crime, Drama
Mathieu Kassovitz
38 The Last Metro1980
Romance, History (WW2) Drama
François Truffaut
39 The Piano Teacher2001
Drama, Music
Michael Haneke
40 The Reader1988
Mildly Erotic Comedy Fantasy
Michel Deville
41 The Return of Martin Guerre1982
History (16thC) Drama, Biography, Crime, Mystery,
Daniel Vigne
42 The Visitors1993
Fantasy, Comedy
Jean-Marie Poiré
43 Three Colors: Blue1993
Drama, Music, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski
44 Three Colors: Red1994
Drama, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski
45 Three Colors: White1994
Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski

Sort the best French Films by Title, Year or Director, Select by Genre or search for a Keyword

  select country title sort by select genre
Search website for keyword(s)



© TFF 2008-10LinksContact