Friday, February 16, 2007

Hiroshima mon amour

Other Things Doin' - 3

It's the debut feature of Alain Resnais, from 1959, and its title translates to 'Hiroshima My Love.' The director is one of the world's greatest filmmakers, the scenario is by Marguerite Duras, and that fact and a couple more once caused Jean-Luc Godard to utter the immortal words: "Then let's say it's literature."

Because I like to use this space to write only about films I admire (it's all for fun, you know), I will note that the first half of Resnais's (not Duras's) seemingly deathless totem is beautiful, the past and present and future of that "19th-century invention" cinema in 2007 just as it was in 1959. Why, then, do those final 45 minutes exist? Of course, this being Resnais, "it's all theater" — but this being Japan, it's noh, and kabuki, and whatever else paved the way for the hyperbolic "Tokyo-ga," that method of presenting actors on-screen devised by Kurosawa and mass-produced by the Art Theater Guild sawmill. There are no mistakes in Resnais, no arbitraries, but there's also no pleasure to be possibly extracted, at least for me, from this particular intellectual gambit. "Why does Emmanuelle Riva bang her fists so, while Eiji Okada, sitting at this table or that, three times presumably takes a shit in his pants? Because they're zombies inbetween worlds, residing somewhere in the interstices of the movies and literature, past and present, memory and desire." But so what. What was fresh here in '59 is, in the '00s, just another night on Hokkaido's Cinema Road, and if Emmanuelle Riva chanced to slip face first in a snow-drift, an ashy impression indeed would result from the mascara — the lipstick — the chemical smear. No foundation for a golden-classic.













Qianxi mambo / Millennium Mambo by Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001



Qianxi mambo / Millennium Mambo by Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001



Qianxi mambo / Millennium Mambo by Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001



Qianxi mambo / Millennium Mambo by Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001

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