Contemporary French Civilization

A fifty-two-year love affair: rewatching Hiroshima mon amour after Fukushima

Contemporary French Civilization (2018), 43, (1), 55–71.

Abstract

The film Hiroshima mon amour (1959), one of the first major Franco-Japanese co-productions, was released the same year in Japan with the title A Twenty-four-hour love affair. The Japanese title’s emphasis on time presents a move away from the film’s historical and political particularity as well as from the space evoked by the name “Hiroshima.” In watching Hiroshima mon amour after the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, the film’s nuclear background, often seen as peripheral to the love story, comes to the fore. This article proposes a post-Fukushima viewing of Hiroshima mon amour that uses the chronotope of the nuclear to analyze the film’s nuclear spatiotemporality and draws parallels to recent Franco-Japanese films about Fukushima. By considering Hiroshima mon amour in the context of Mette Hjort’s definition of “affinitive transnationalism,” this article argues that Alain Resnais’s film can be understood today as an instance of solidarity as well as an opportunity for implicit criticism of France’s own nuclear culture.

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Holtzman, Hannah