Literature and War Readalong July 29 2011: Hiroshima Mon Amour by Marguerite Duras or Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour

This month’s readalong is a bit special as you have the possibility to either read the book by Marguerite Duras or watch Alain Resnais’ movie. I will read the book and watch the movie. I’m not sure whether I’ll do a combined post or rather two. I suppose, I will combine it. The movie is very beautiful but it is a good idea to read the book first, it will make watching the movie easier. I’m not sure how well they managed the subtitles.

Hiroshima Mon Amour is far more than a love story, it is also a haunting, poetical look at the horror of Hiroshima and the devastation created by the bomb.

The movie is one of the great classics of French cinema. Resnais started with documentaries (Night and Fog or Nuit et Brouillard is one of them), Hiroshima Mon Amour was his first feature film.

I don’t know whether anyone has noticed but I skipped last month’s wrap up. I did that deliberately as I found that three posts per month on the same book are a bit of an overload, especially when I am the only one posting. Should there be months with more posting participants I might do it again.

Here is a scene from the movie with English subtitles.

22 thoughts on “Literature and War Readalong July 29 2011: Hiroshima Mon Amour by Marguerite Duras or Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour

  1. I looked at a clip on youtube and it looked pretty grim. Perhaps it was just the bit I saw but the clip showed a shot of the body with the skin falling off. Don’t know if I’m in the mood for that right now (just watched another nuclear mini series last night). I need a change of pace. But I’ll try to come up with something FRENCH.

    • Resnais is known to be unsparing, his “Night and Fog” made me almost throw up… but Hiroshima Mon Amour is a beautiful movie and there are only some passages with original footage. He was about to move away from documentary but it can still be felt where he comes from. But wit the series you just watched in mid, it could be hard to watch.

  2. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this. I read so much Marguerite Duras at University but never this one book that intrigued me so much. I may dig it out and read along if I have time.

    • That would be great. It is short, 150 pages and not dense, since it’s a scenario. I have read it in school, my memory is blurred and it needs a re-reading. It isn’t the best starting point if you have never read her but if, like you, one knows her work, it’s interesting.

    • That would be lovely, Emily. I would like to hear your thoughts on it. I’m looking forward to re-watch it. When I first saw it, in cinema even, in some French cinema classics retrospective it impressed me a lot. It is very haunting.

    • The book is short, it is feasible, I think. And the good thing, it is also a great choice for Paris in July. In any case you can also just watch the movie. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on it.

  3. Hello. You convinced me to watch the film. I just requested it from the library and hopefully it will arrive in time. Thanks for the opportunity to join the fun.

  4. Hmm, the book is short you say? I was going to say that I very likely won’t have time to read it this month, but perhaps… I do want to watch the movie – seems like it will be easier to watch knowing that I can discuss it with others who have just watched it too.

    • It does not matter whether you choose the book or the movie. I’m glad if you join. I just think it helps to read the text. The dialogue is very literary, not that one cannot follow it but it is nice to read it as well.

    • If you haven’t read her yet, I would recommend you try Moderato Cantabile first. It is my favourite Duras. But I’m quite sure you would also like others. Hiroshima Mon Amour is special as it is a film script. Film was extremely important for Duras work, film and its techniques which inspred her writing but if you’d like to try a novel, Moderato Cantabile is extremely good. Also very short.

  5. I’m still reading the Levi–I’m getting serious, though, as it is going to be my gym book (where I get a chunk of basically uninterrupted reading time) until I finish it! Sorry I’m so tardy–I’m late with everything lately. It looks like you’ll have lots of people reading along with the Duras however. My library has the movie and the book so I’ll try and join in, but I might get started on the next book since it is a longer one!

    • Don’t tell me, it is very long! But I am sure it is also very good. I always wanted to read her. No worries about the others. It does look as if a lot of people would participate but that is how it looked when we read The Return of the Soldier and in the end…

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