Emmanuelle Riva had her first starring role in “Hiroshima Mon Amour.” Her luminous talents as an actress (also playing an actress) were obvious. But like Resnais, Riva was also filming Hiroshima. See her evocative slice-of-life photos of this city in ruin below.
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.