A stark contrast of powerful emotions

Poignant Memories

‘Before and After Walls’ is part of a series of events organised by Maraa as a parallel to the photo exhibition ‘Walls between people’ at Alliance Francaise.

‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ is a French movie directed by Alain Resnais and written by Margeurite Duras. The movie was originally meant to be a documentary about the Hiroshima bombing but Resnais changed it into a feature film with his beautiful incorporation of the emotions of love, poignancy and heartbreak. 

‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ starts with a beautiful scene where the two lovers Elle, played by Emmanuelle Riva and Lui, played by Eji Okada are locked in a passionate embrace. The black and white imagery helps to show the stark rawness and  intensity of their emotions. The scene then takes the audience through Hiroshima – from the museum to the roads, the people and finally to the ghastly images of the aftermath of the bombing.

Elle is a French actress, who has come to Hiroshima for a few days to act in a movie about peace. There she meets Lui, a Japanese architect with whom she has a short affair. The two characters form the main protagonists and the movie is set in Tokyo.

Though they are both married, they find themselves falling in love with each other. Initially, Elle turns down Lui’s requests to meet him again, but the next day they meet again and she begins to open up and recall her time in France and the tragedy of her first love.

She recalls her affair with a German soldier killed in World War II, whom she lost when she was only 18. She was ostracised for this and had to have her head shaved, which she compares with the loss of the Japanese women’s hair after the Hiroshima bombing. This, being a similar situation, she remembers the pain and torture.

Resnais interlaces the scenes with the footage of the Hiroshima holocaust showing the link between the pain of the tragedy with the pain suffered by Elle when she loses her lover. The movie also deals with stark opposites such as love and heartbreak, war and peace, life and death, forgetfulness and memory as well as dealing with two characters from different parts of the world, both of whom have been majorly affected by World War II in their own ways.

Suraj, a student who had come for the screening, said: “The movie is simple yet a touching way of showing the power of two emotions in a person’s life. ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ reminds us about the ghastly consequences of World War II.”

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