A first [feature of] its director, film can be classed as a noble try to make a statement on human love and the Atom Bomb (hardly a lovable thing), but it’s too literary in conception and too cerebral in treatment.
A woman (Emmanuele Riva) and a man (Eiji Okada), in a lover’s embrace, talk of Hiroshima. Horrors of the Bomb are evoked. Lovers are a French woman, in Japan working on a film calling for world peace, and a Japanese architect. Then follows their realization of the impossibility of their love, since both are married.
Film then welds in her souvenirs of a first love during the war in France with a German soldier, his death, her breakdown and her reacceptance of life. The film plods.
Director Alain Resnais directs with sombre feeling and tact. It makes a plea for love and world humanity but does it without finally making the love a real, palpable thing, and it remains a symbolical trauma tied up with Hiroshima and the Occupation.