“You are not endowed with memory.”

I’ve been on a bit of a binge of incredible films, recently, haven’t I? And most of them have been tragic romances. Maybe I’m just in the prime position for relating to heartbreak, I don’t know I don’t know.

The last Resnais film I saw, Last Year at Marienbad,hypnotised me only in brief spurts. I would become frustrated for 10s of minutes at a time, only to be lulled into a dream for a moment before going back. But here, every moment, every silent dolly in, every framed architectural wonder, every incantatory phrasing, every declaration of memory lost – it all hit me and held me.

Cities are the homes of people. That may seem like an obvious statement, but it’s so hard to really fathom in the face of devastation and memory. Leaving home is leaving everyone you met is leaving your stories is leaving their stories is leaving an entire world.

Hiroshima Mon Amour seems to ask if one can create a new home, a new city to call one’s own, from a person. From a love. From a true connection.

Then it gets to the heart of all of those “we only have so much time” romances; leaving a lover is the same as leaving town, and leaving town is the same as losing all of the lives contained therein.

And you can’t possibly remember enough of their stories to do right by them, can you?

What of Hiroshima itself? Could anyone possibly remember enough to rebuild it, to undo the tragedy?

The answer, of course, is no.


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