Hiroshima Mon Amour, 1959
Dir: Alain Resnais
There are some big ups and big downs in this film. The fact that it was initially supposed to be a documentary about Hiroshima is pretty apparent. The beginning is kind of unbearable; my mind couldn't latch on to anything, even with all the images of mutilated Hiroshima residents. Then the "story" starts, of a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) in town who has a one night stand with a Japanese man (Eiji Okada), and then they talk a whole bunch. She says "no" a lot, and he says "I want you to stay in Hiroshima." Oh yeah, like more than 3 times.
I will admit that this film has plenty of power, with beautiful and incredibly profound scenes but it's overshadowed by the fact that the whole thing is one big monologue. Both characters feel such compassion and their feelings are so complex and confusing, and yet they know exactly how to explain it. It's like they're both poets but the novelty wears thin after the first few minutes. I actually think this reminds me a lot of something Wong Kar-Wai would do. With the exception of the tedious and overlong dialogue, it's very much done in a similar tone of pacing. I really enjoyed the visuals though. Some of it is rather stagey, but it actually works. And the slow tracking shots in and out of subjects with the voice-over actually kind of reminded me of Terrence Malick (so maybe he was a Resnais fan).
The performances, in my opinion, really aren't that fantastic. There's a lot of over-acting, and Riva's flashback freak-outs are really annoying. All that being said, this is probably something that I will want to go back to eventually, 'cause like I said there are some great moments in it and it seems like a film that I might change my mind about at some point.