Hiroshima mon amour

ISBN: 8432216941
ISBN 13: 9788432216947
By: Marguerite Duras Caridad Martínez

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About this book

El presente volumen contiene la totalidad del material literario de Marguerite Duras para la película de Alain Resnais, incluidas ciertas descripciones adicionales y fragmentos no incluidos finalmente. Una de las experiencias más singulares de la expresión artística de nuestro tiempo.

Reader's Thoughts


(23/11/09: I'm still watching the film, which I'm loving, so the real rating and review are still pending.)Well, I kind of forgot I hadn't written this review. I said what I said because this book cannot be separated from the film. Now I couldn't make it justice just by summarizing it, and the plot isn't that new (except for the inter-racial couple, that was a shock in the sixties), but together they are a masterpiece and I've often found myself thinking about it.

Ruta Sevo

A screenplay with photos from the movie inserted here and there. It is love story between a white woman and a Japanese man. Sensuality mixed with ambiguity between the two, horrors of the bomb, cultural differences. You have to be comfortable reading a script.

Maria Kelly

The screenplay, written by Marguerite Duras, of the film made by Alan Renais. Touching, haunting, tragic tale of a brief romance between a French actress and a Japanese architect while the woman is working on a film about peace in Hiroshima in the 1950s. The book has images from the film in it, and they are not for the faint of heart. Photos of victims of the Hiroshima bombing are a graphic reminder of the price paid in innocence for the end of World War II. I read this book for my World Literature and Culture class at the University of South Florida, and this week we are scheduled to watch the film. The dialogue and description of action between the two unnamed protagonists is hauntingly beautiful and subtly erotic. "You were made to the size of my body. You destroy me," the woman says to the man. Beautifully written with delicious dialogue.

Janice Marie Foote

Their pasts and their presents more than casually collide in this beautifully emotive yet short love affair.


Eli kyseessä on kuuluisan elokuvan käsikirjoistus taustoituksineen ja dialogeineen. Paljon maisema- ja kohtauskuvailuita. Herätti kiinnostuksen elokuvan näkemiseen. Toisen maailmansodan aikana suuren tragedian kohdannut ranskalaisnainen matkustaa Hiroshimaan rooliaan varten rauhaa julistavassa elokuvassa. Nainen tapaa itseään vanhemman japanilaismiehen ja heidän välilleen syttyy lyhyt, mutta tulinen romanssi. Heitä molempia yhdistää sodan jättämät arvet, mutta eri tasoilla.

Gabrielle Grozea

"Esti cât o mie de femei laolalta. Asta pentru ca nu ma cunoşti". Superb.

Ebtihal Abuali

تقييم الكتاب في القوود ريدز 3.9 من أصل خمسة وهو تقييم ممتاز، معظم القراء أحبوه، وبخاصة من قرأوا النسخة الفرنسية الأصلية، أو من قرأوا نسخاً مرفقة بصورة من الفيلم. البعض عبر عن اعجابه بالكتاب ارتبطاً بالاعجاب بالفيلم.شخصياً لا أجد أني أحببته ولا استمتعت بقراءته. أتصور أن بقدرتي مشاهدة الفيلم والاستمتاع به بصورة أفضل. الكتاب بصفته سيناريو فيلم قائم على الحوار بين الشخصيتين الرئيسين في الفيلم. الفصل الأول خلط الجمل الحوارية بمشاهد لما حل بهيروشيما بعد القنبلة. هناك ذاك الارتباط العاطفي غير المفهوم ( ربما غير المبرر والبلا حاجة للتبرير) بين رجل وامرأة التقيا صدفة. القصة المهمة أكثر بالنسبة لي كانت التاريخ العاطفي للمرأة الفرنسية التي أحبت "العدو" يوماً ما (جندي ألماني) ولم تنفصل عنه عاطفياً أبداً، حتى وهي تخوض ما يشبه علاقتها مرة ثانية. انه تطلب اعتذاره عن الخيانة، حتى وهي تعرف انه مات منذ سنوات بعيدة. أعتقد أن الترجمة لم تكن بارعة وربما فاتنا فيها أكثر مما نعرف. ملاحظات الكاتبة الملحقة بالرواية تقول انها حاولت ان تجعل المشاهد ينسى ان القضية هي فرنسية وياباني، ويفكر بهما فقط باعتبارهما رجل وامرأة. لا اعرف كيف يكون هذا ممكناً حين تكون الرواية لا تتوقف عن الاشارة للرجل بأنه "الياباني" والمرأة بأنها فرنسية.


** spoiler alert ** If people go back through their personal library, they will find only a handful of books or poems in their lives that served to ignite a genuine literary epiphany, an awakening of sensibility that made us realize the power of writing. For many of us, these books were assigned to us in school; but for me, a surprising percentage of my revelatory books were books I chose to read in order to avoid reading something longer (such as Dickens' Bleak House or Fielding's Tom Jones, both of which I was expected to finish in the same course back in university). It is worth noting that some of these books, which were discovered by accident, have left a stronger impression on me than all those pages of verbiage by Dickens and his ilk. This is not to disparage the novelists of the past; rather, it is to show that that which is art sometimes strikes a chord with us because it fits, or defies, preconceived notions of what prose ought to be. Marguerite Duras is primarily known to me as a novelist, but she has dabbled in film scripts and even directing as well. The apparent decline of French influence on American culture in the 1980s and 1990s means that her legacy is largely based on The Lover and its explicit film adaptation by Jean-Jacques Annaud. But with its enigmatic title, Hiroshima, Mon Amour, written in screenplay form, was my first introduction to Duras. It bears many of Duras' trademarks -- an illicit love affair, doomed to wither due to time constraints, cultural divides or the shattering of preconceptions one lover has about the other; the gliding between present narrative and memory; a heroine who was shattered by a public humiliation; and a man's attempt to rebuild her, perhaps for selfish reasons, but more often than not (in her novels) for reasons that are rooted in love and redemption, unconditionally. The setting is 1959, and an actress is in Japan, participating in an anti-war film -- a documentary, from what we gather. She has an affair, and the screenplay begins with a sex scene between her and her lover. It is demure by contemporary standards; for the most part, we see close-up shots of hands clutching shoulders. The morality of the affair is not at issue here; it is the pretext for something more important. The sex scene turns into a montage sequence of great significance for fans of serious film. Their lovemaking is intercut with shocking scenes from, of all things, the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. The conversation is not taking place during their lovemaking; it happened earlier, or perhaps later, but we hear it during the sex scene to give hints about the emotional distress that the woman is suffering. (Film critics call conversations like this non-diegetic sound or "commentary sound": the sound is not part of the same scene on the screen. Non-diegetic sound is a technique that seems seldom used, and its potential for creating scenes of complexity is thus ignored.) She is distraught over buried memories; he is trying to assuage her fears, her possible guilt over a past incident. But after they make love, she glances at him on the bed, and has a flashback to wartime France, the France of the liberation -- and a flashback to a personal tragedy she's trying to suppress. As the story progresses, the characters gradually begin to focus on her past. She is haunted by her first love -- a German soldier in WW2-era France. Their love ended in tragedy when the Third Reich was defeated, and she bears scars of personal shame for having had a lover from the occupying army -- like many "collaborators," her head was shaved in public and she was made to stand, bald-headed, and face the scorn of the townsfolk. (It is an alarming leitmotif that she is haunted by images of Hiroshima's burn victims, whose hair was burned off by the heat.) Her Japanese lover, unnamed, makes it a personal mission to reach her through empathy, to establish a kind of personal space where she can forgive herself. There is an extended sequence where they are seated at dinner, and he is pressing her, asking her questions about her past, and she is answering -- but she is not responding to the Japanese man. She is back in the past, apologizing (for lack of a better word) to her long-done German lover, presumably murdered in the aftermath of the occupation. This is one of my favorite scenes because the story plays out without an interloping character explaining everything to the audience. We are left to discover for ourselves that she is trying to beg the ghost of her German soldier for forgiveness.(Aside: this note plays out like a scene from Duras' days as a court reporter, before she became a novelist. In her memoir Outside, a collection of journalistic essays, Duras recounts one particular trial -- a murder trial -- wherein the defendant, a woman, was clearly distraught, and barely answering the prosecutor's questions. The prosecutor began twisting the facts to suit his narrative of how the crime happened. One would think that the woman would leap to her feet like the heroine of a courtroom drama and object, but she was incapable, emotionally, of doing so. In fact, in spite of the stakes involved, the female defendant was seemingly miles away, her eyes downcast, unable to respond with anything more than, "I should like to explain, but I can't." That scene -- of one person trying to get a kind of confession out of another, who has retreated into the past -- clearly had a lasting impression on Duras.) To find a story like this was a revelation to someone weaned on Star Wars, which revels in cartoonish depictions of villainy. Hiroshima is about the internal struggle to come to terms with the past; it is not a fairy tale, and over the years I suspect it has been branded as an "art film" and dismissed. Most people will not even bother with this film, which is too bad, because there is a kind of everyday melodrama in it which will strike a chord with anyone still laboring under an unresolved trauma.


I love Duras, but really, for being a sort of cine-roman thing, this one sort of fails to deliver. Resnais's film is so image based, and while the images are hinted at, it's actually the collaborative efforts that make the film so wonderful. Where both INDIA SONG and DESTROY, SHE SAID work as books in an amazing way, this one feels too light, too fragmented, and not in a holy way that Duras's work often feels.


Very vague... I think this is one of the few books BETTER as a film. "Read after watching the movie" is my advice.


After watching and utterly falling for Alain Resnais's and Marguerite Duras's 1959 film Hiroshima mon amour back in March, I was so enamored of the language—sparse, yet compelling enough that I recited phrases from the film to myself for weeks after watching it—that I had to search out Duras's original screenplay and spend some time absorbing the words at a slower-than-speech pace. Doing so only increased my admiration for Duras's work here, while at the same time helping me realize how much the visual and audio elements of the film augment and alter the words spoken. Having read with interest Amateur Reader's recent post on watching and reading plays, it was an intriguing exercise to go back and read a screenplay of a film I've already watched and savored.In particular, Elle's hypnotic near-monologue from the opening of the film makes a different impression when stripped of the haunting score by Georges Delerue and Giovanni Fusco, and of the shocking and heartbreaking newsreel footage of war devastation (and its counterpoint, near-abstract images of lovers' bodies). Emmanuelle Riva's cadenced delivery of these lines emphasizes the way in which Duras's prose veers, under pressure, into poetic verse and back out again. The score, in turn, underlines that growing pressure underlying Elle's narration, as she tries to convince her Japanese lover that she has seen Hiroshima, that she has witnessed and at some level understands the devastation of the war. Take the following passage, from close to the beginning of the film (all marks and emphasis mine):       Quatre fois au musée à Hiroshima.      J'ai regardé les gens. J'ai regardé moi-même pensivement, le fer. Le fer brûlé. Le fer brisé, le fer devenu vulnérable comme la chair. J'ai vu des capsules en bouquet: qui y aurait pensé? Des peaux humaines flottantes, survivantes, encore dans la fraîcheur de leurs souffrances. Des pierres. Des pierres brûlées. Des pierres éclatées. Des chevelures anonymes que les femmes de Hiroshima retrouvaient tout entières tombées le matin, au réveil.      J'ai eu chaud place de la Paix. Dix mille degrés sur la place de la Paix. Je le sais. La température du soleil sur la place de la Paix. Comment l'ignorer?The meaning in English is more or less:       Four times at the museum in Hiroshima.      I watched the people. I myself watched, pensively, the metal. Metal burnt. Metal broken, metal become vulnerable like flesh. I saw the bouquet of bottle caps: who would have thought? The preserved human skins, floating, surviving, their suffering still fresh. The stones. Burnt stone. Shattered stone. The anonymous hair that the women of Hiroshima found, fallen out, on waking in the morning.      I was hot in Peace Square. Ten thousand degrees in Peace Square. I know it. The temperature of the sun in Peace Square - how could you not know it? However, many of the rhymes and echoes (in particular the "eɪ" sound common among the bolded syllables above) don't translate into English. Try to read it in French even if you don't understand the words, and notice how the rhyming or echoing words are grouped together, often in the shorter sentences. The rhyming/echoing "eɪ" sounds are generally on the accented syllable, and often directly precede a comma or period, which strengthens the stress on those beats. They are repetitive yet syncopated, building on each other to create a rhythmic tension which is alleviated by the counterpoint of the longer sentences, which descend back into a more prose-like rhythm (although the underlined syllables create another, minor rhythmic line). The overall effect is insistent, incantatory. Elle is building a story, a representation that is meant to convince her lover of what she "knows," what we all "know": the devastation and cruelty of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. But representations of something felt in the body tend to be problematic in Duras. The insistent yet fragile structure created by Elle's voice is cut short by Lui's stark refusal: "Tu n'as rien vu à Hiroshima, rien." (You saw nothing at Hiroshima, nothing.") Although Duras communicates much of this rhythmic play via punctuation, the text alone simply does not have the power of the full filmic package. 1 The score underlines everything I've been talking about with regard to the building rhythmic anxiety: frenetic piano, flute, and string parts underline brilliantly the tension during her speeches about the museum, while his refusals are marked by silence, or the single, elegant line of (I'm guessing?) a clarinet. Just to illustrate the exact points Duras is making, my analysis comes nowhere close to the experience of actually watching all elements come together, which you can do here. The cuts back from the bomb footage to the lovers' bodies provide another method of contrasting the physical immediacy of Elle's current situation with the theoretical nature of her "knowledge" about the bomb. And the questions of reality versus representation are brought to yet another level by the fact that this is itself a piece of art, being viewed by an audience, yet it incorporates the same real newsreel footage that Elle keeps referencing. As the viewer, I feel I am coming face to face with the "reality" of the war, just as Elle feels she was brought face to face with it by going four times to the museum. My reaction was the same as hers: I wept. The impact of these images does not feel negligible, does not feel like something that can be so cleanly dismissed. And yet of course, my feeling is just as illusory as Elle's: our weeping does not indicate any privileged knowledge of Hiroshima under attack. That kind of knowledge is kept locked in the bodies of those who were there, and any attempt to communicate it in language (as Elle does with her own trauma later on) will lead only to forgetfulness, not to shared understanding.Notes on DisgustI've decided to jot down a few notes for each of my posts about how the book in question might make use of disgust, even if said book is not directly related to my Disgust Project. This is primarily so I can get a better idea what the most common uses of disgust might be.Hiroshima mon amour is remarkable for how little disgust it elicits, considering its subject matter. The opening 15-minute montage, in particular, shows very graphic images of disfigurement following the atomic blast, yet (at least personally) I wouldn't say disgust is my primary emotion on viewing these images. I think this is because the disgust impulse has either been superseded by grief and pity, or has reached a tipping point of extremity into horror. (Since I'm American, there may also be a certain amount of cultural guilt around the knowledge that "we" were the ones responsible for the atrocities pictured. Despite the fact that the bomb project was not exactly a democratic decision and happened in any case long before I was born, and despite my strong dislike of nationalism, witnessing photographic evidence of the devastation wrought by one's own country is for some reason more upsetting than witnessing similar devastation wrought by others. As such, most of the disgust I feel when viewing these images is directed inward, if not toward "me" at least toward "us," rather than outward toward "them.")Speaking from the small amount of reading I've done thus far, and from my common sense, disgust is a largely dehumanizing emotion, used to police boundaries between the "safe" and the "contaminating" (us and them, clean and dirty, etc.). The degree to which Hiroshima mon amour succeeds in breaking down those us vs. them boundaries can be measured by its communication of horror and grief (however limited or suspect they may be) rather than disgust, to the viewer, despite the inclusion of images which could easily disgust. Bottom line: Transformation of disgust into grief via sympathy.******* 1Which is not to say that I disagree with Amateur Reader's overall point: I enjoy reading plays and agree that we can stage them effectively in our imaginations. But the combined imaginative power of Marguerite Duras and Alain Resnais far outstrips my own.


This text is so rich in its multilayered contemplation on memory, loss, and love- I could not stop thinking about it. I so deeply felt for the female protagonist as she struggled as her words failed to capture the intimacy of experience, which I relished even more as I found myself failing to articulate my response in reading this. I also found the perspective on dependency both comforting and completely agonizing.... ugh! I just die every time- it's SO good... This screenplay is remarkably poetic and definitely holds its own even against the movie (which is also AMAZING). In short: read the screenplay, watch the film- you won't regret it.


Since this is a screenplay, rather than a traditional book it gives you an idea of what the film was trying to achieve when it describes the scenes (an arm comes on screen, it reminds the audience of this or this, etc.) which I found quite interesting.

Sofia Jacinto

Que murro no estomago que foi este livro. Único defeito: demasiado pequeno.«Uma noite longe de ti e esperava o dia como uma libertação.»


je te rencontre. je me souviens de toi. qui es-tu? tu me tues. tu me fais du bien. comment me serais-je doutée que cette ville ètait faite à la taille de l'amour? comment me serais-je doutée que tu ètais fait à la taille de mon corps meme? tu me plais. quel événement. tu me plais. quelle lenteur tout à coup. quelle douceur. tu ne peux pas savoir. tu me tues. tu me fais du bien. tu me tues. tu me fais du bien"

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