EUR KINOsofie: Hiroshima mon Amor (1959) + Heleen Pott (postponed)


Prof. Heleen Pott

Thursday 28 May 2020, 21:00 - 23:45

KINO Rotterdam (Gouvernestraat 129-133, 3014 PM Rotterdam)

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Luis Quintero

In 2020 ESPhil and KINO present a new film series: EUR KINOsofie. Several ESPhil professors have chosen one of their favourite films, for which they will present a philosophical introduction. In this third edition, we look at Hiroshima mon Amour, with an introduction of Heleen Pot.

Hiroshima Mon Amour is not the most approachable film, as the opening scene leaves a lot to the imagination. What is it that we see? The bodies of two lovers? Or the bodies of the victims of the atomic bomb, covered in radioactive ashes? Is it Hiroshima in 1945, or a ‘histoire d’amour’ (notice the pseudo-anagram) years later? In the film, several storylines are weaved together, while the internal structure remains opaque. Because of the experimental style, there are several ways to explain HMA. In the early 1960’s, HMA was looked upon as an existential nouvelle vague film about extramarital sex, despair, and the hollowness of the modern way of life. In the postmodern 1980’s, arthouse visitors are mainly interested in the deconstructive aesthetic of discontinuity, flashbacks, tardiness, silences.

In the 1990’s an attempt is made to more explicitly relate the film’s aesthetic to its content, by interpreting HMA as a film about trauma and memory. During her introduction, professor Heleen Pott will elaborate on the impossibility to commemorate an historical trauma such as the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima with its civilian population, in a way that does justice to the victims. In an era in which the commemoration of massacres and genocides has become a duty and routine, with big shots and members of the political elite on the front row, this remains a very current theme.

Hiroshima mon amour (1959)

Hiroshima, the city where 200,000 people were killed instantly, when an atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Nevertheless, the city recovered fifteen years later, in 1959, and became a vibrant city, a city that never sleeps. In this year, a French actress travels to Hiroshima to take part in a film on peace. There she develops a relationship with a married Japanese man, who reminds her of her first love, a German soldier during the Second World War.


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