From an original, Oscar-nominated screenplay by the glorious French writer Marguerite Duras, Resnais’ 1959 drama anticipated his many cinematic fascinations to come. Emmanuelle Riva and Eiji Okada play an actress and an architect who, while drifting through Japan, discuss memory and longing across elliptical, time-bending voiceovers as their brief affair begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the devastation of the Hiroshima bomb of 1945 is all around them.
Shut out of Cannes competition in 1959 for its radically anti-nuclear stance, the film picked up the International Critics’ Prize before becoming a worldwide art house sensation — and a film classic.
Resnais’ farewell film, “Life of Riley,” bowed at the Berlinale this year three weeks before he died on March 1 at the age of 91. The 4K restoration of “Hiroshima” plays the New York Film Festival on October 10, before opening in NY and LA on October 17.