Sunday, August 19, 2012

Resnais' revolutionary approach to flashbacks

One of my highlights of the weekend was watching ALAIN RESNAIS' revolutionary 1959 film, "HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR."
Resnais famously uses fragmentary flashbacks to inject memory (and perhaps, fantasy) into the extended conversation of lovers in the atomic bomb-scarred city.
Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell, writing in "Film History: An Introduction," explain the effects of Resnais' experimental approach to time and memory in the film:
"Often, the viewer does not know if the soundtrack carries real conversations, imaginary dialogues, or commentary spoken by characters. The film leaps from current story action to documentary footage,usually of Hiroshima, or to shots of the actress' youth in France. While audiences had seen flashback constructions throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Resnais made such temporal switches sudden and fragmentary. In many cases, they remain ambiguously poised between memory and fantasy."
It's a beautifully shot film, too. I recommend it.


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