Precious Bodily Fluids

Hiroshima, mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1959)

See previous post on Deleuze and the crystal image as it applies to this film.

The ashes in the first shot of the film shifts to sweat via dissolve. The memory and the present are not conflated but intimately related, blurred into one another. Similar to the museum scene shortly thereafter. Identities in the present are incomplete, bodies decapitated by the exhibits that recall through photos and artifacts those previous identities immediately affected by the moment of Hiroshima. Past and present coexist through illusion in the space of the tribute museum. Recreations serve as perfect illusions and elicit tears from the tourists. “You saw nothing in Hiroshima.”

Trauma is cross-cut with closeups of lovemaking. These images have become a cliché, a trope of art cinema, trauma and love, heightened form and distance through extreme intimacy (or vice versa).

His hand movement, while asleep in bed, triggers memory and passage through time. Close-up of his hand connects him with another hand. Identities briefly relate but again do not conflate.

“What did Hiroshima mean to you in France?” –France is not a place but a time, the space of the past.

She was “young in Nevers,” a place named after a non-time. She repeats “jamais” when she recalls Nevers.

The diegetic film in which She acts calls the practice of filming Hiroshima into ethical question. Highly self-reflexive. She is, in turn, overwhelmed by the diegetic film production.

He takes on the identity of the German love: “…am I dead?”

Close-ups with blurred backgrounds during flashbacks. She/He speaks in the present tense: they attempt to collapse/conflate time through their discourse. They cannot quite make the trip back, just as we only get glimpses, or longer scenes of the past with the sound of the present persisting over those images. The sound is stable in the present, only images reach back through memories to the past.

After his first line, in which he switches identities with the German soldier, he remains shrouded, non-lit. He slaps her in the face to return her to the present, a violent & abrupt move unlike the subtle, tender touch of her hand to the cold glass, contrasted with the harsh walls of her cell in the past.

“I relinquish you to oblivion.” –Her, to herself

She goes to Casablanca, he follows – reference to Casablanca as cinema history’s touchstone of memories, flashbacks, lost love, love and war.

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This entry was published on June 10, 2014 at 2:34 pm. It’s filed under 1950s Cinema, Alain Resnais, French Film, Photoessays and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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