JCM312/French New Wave I: Alain Resnais (Discussion)

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Alain Resnais is pronounced "ah-LAWN reh-NAY".

Theme, narrative, style

All groups:

  1. The first flashback occurs soon after a shot of She (figure 3.5; see this video clip). What stylistic techniques does Resnais use to move into the past? That is, how does he manipulate mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing and/or sound to signal the move into the past?
  2. What parallels are there between the story in the past and the story in the present?
  3. In the final scene, there is this exchange of dialogue (see screenshots below):
    • She: "Hiroshima. That's your name."
    • He: "And your name is Nevers."
      • What do you think this means? What is the significance of place?
  4. Considering both narrative and visual style, how is Hiroshima Mon Amour a classical film? How is it not?

Monaco article

  1. Group 5: According to Monaco Hiroshima Mon Amour is "two films, often working against each other." (Not the "two distinct films" he mentions on p. 34.)
    • What does he mean by this? What are the "two films"?
    • How is this split evident in the title itself? And what does Monaco suggest is a more accurate translation of the title than "Hiroshima my love" (which would be the literal translation). Why does he prefer his translation?
  2. Group 6: Who is Marguerite Duras (pronounced "do-rahs")? What was her part in Hiroshima Mon Amour?
    • How does Duras describe the opening series of shots (see frame grabs above)?
    • How does that opening encapsulate the "two films" that Monaco posits?
  3. Groups 1 & 3: James Monaco claims, "The theme of the film is the impossibility of making the film." What does he mean by that?
  4. Groups 2 & 4: James Monaco, in the captions to the frame enlargements, argues that the images' compositions mirror the relationships of the characters (see frame grab below). How so? Do you find his argument convincing?

Principal cast of Hiroshima, Mon Amour[1]

None of the characters have "real" names.

  • Actor.... Character
  • Emmanuelle Riva .... Elle (She)
  • Eiji Okada .... Lui (He)
  • Stella Dassas .... Mother
  • Pierre Barbaud .... Father
  • Bernard Fresson .... German Lover


  • Monaco, James. Alain Resnais. NY: Oxford University, 1979.

External links