The most striking aspects of Hiroshima must be imagery, juxtaposition, and the way these factors serve to create symbolism . Of course, film is itself imagery, but Resnais constantly assembles metaphorically ambiguous and captivating shots. The most impressive of these is the opening of the movie. The ambiguity of the two lovers intertwined juxtaposed against the explicitness of the atomic bomb dropping on Hiroshima has the power to invoke serious emotion. For myself, there was a powerful contradiction. How can something be so beautiful and something so terrible? How can some find love and happiness while others find torture and death?
The film uses these opening images as somewhat of a thesis. To further examine these questions, flashbacks of Elle's former relationship with a Nazi are displayed. A powerful love leading to loss clearly compels Elle to be afraid of any kind of future with Lui. At the same time, Elle is reminded of the good times spent with the German man. This dilemna seems to take on a greater role when compared to the Hiroshima bombing. If Elle is afraid of finding happiness because she lost one she loved, why is Lui so eager to find new happiness after witnessing the destruction of his city? Why is Lui willing to abandon his wife? Of course, this film is a glimpse into a small part of the characters lives, but one feels compelled to figure out exactly how these two tick. Judging the characters in different lights can completely change what one takes away from the film.
Hiroshima Mon Amour seems a movie of give and take. A movie of opposites, formalistically and in the characters. The idea that all things fade away is vivid and apparent in the film. Futility at times is a very strong mood established by the film, yet flashbacks are used as a powerful thematic device. Life is futile, but the human being is still motivated and influenced by memories held of the past.