First Advisor

Gina Greco

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in French






Film criticism, Hiroshima mon amour (Motion picture), Annâee derniáere áa Marienbad (Motion picture)



Physical Description

1 online resource (137 p.)


This thesis examines how the cinematic organization of film is used to convey meaning. Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and L'Annee derniere a Marienbad (1961) I two films directed by Alain Resnais, are used as models for this purpose. This thesis argues for a new type of film criticism, one that recognizes the uniqueness of film by adding technical analysis to the literary methods that currently dominate. Traditionally, film criticism has followed two directions: firstly that of the "film reviewer" whose efforts bow to the economic needs of the industry, and secondly the academic or scholarly approach which is based in large part on literary criticism, and falls into two general categories, thematic analysis and interpretive analysis. This thesis proposes that the literary methods which are appropriate for literature are inadequate for film, because of the way cinematographic technique is employed to convey meaning. To this end, the films, Hiroshima mon amour and L'Annee derniere a Marienbad, are analyzed in terms of technique and how technique structures film, as well as in more traditional terms. The evolution of film technology correlates directly with what a director is able to portray on the screen, and so it is appropriate to include in this examination the art-historical context of Hiroshima. mon amour and L'Annee derniere a Marienbad: what came directly before as well as what was happening in literature, art, politics and film technology contemporaneously with these two films. The organization of film not only occurs at a literary or intellectual level, but at a physical or technical level. The intent of this thesis is to implement a model for a third sort of film analysis, an alternative to interpretation-driven criticism, one which includes, in addition to explication and interpretation, the use of film technology as a valid means of comprehending a film. The result of this broader form of analysis is a more accurate understanding of film through the comprehension of the aspects which make it an original art form. The use of specific film technology forms a more balanced and accurate approach to film criticism.


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