Salient: At Victoria University College, Wellington, N. Z. Vol. 24, No. 10. 1961.
Sir.—Your film critic's review of Hiroshima mon Amour was a disgustingly unfair piece of writing. It opened with a sarcastic summary of the chorus of praise which has so far greeted the film, at the same time making it clear that at last here is a critic of courage who is going to flatten it come what may. He then follows up with a paragraph about other films which have been treated in the same way. By this time he has covered two-thirds of a column without mentioning the film under review directly at all, but nevertheless, it has been damned in advance. He then tells us that the film is difficult to follow and diffuse. Can it therefore be sincere? he asks. Now We hear that the script was incongruous to a visual pattern. This does not appear to mean anything, but insofar as it is one of the (three points made against the film it has to be answered. The film had two themes (a) love, which unites, (b) war. which separates. The love affair which the French heroine has in Hiroshima with a Japanese, during the course of which she remembers a disastrous affair she had with a German soldier during the war is effectively interwoven I with the past of Hiroshima and the world generally which hangs ironically over the film and the love affair. How this is of "remarkable incongruity to the visual pattern" escapes me.
Your critic then returns to the point that he has made before—that the film is difficult to follow. If one is trying to establish chronological sequence, then this is sometimes true, but if one follows it as an interior monologue as events impressions and memories crowd upon the heroine, then it is, while sometimes difficult, always intelligible to any moderately alert person.
Your critic has damned the film, without saving anything important about it, in a most irresponsible manner. He refers at one point, with great contempt, to the "myopic intellectual set." What does he think he is? A normal sighted, normal headed, normally sensitive film fan, perhaps. If so, couldn't the myopic ones please have a critic that will pander to their lower requirements?
T. G. Aitken.