The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

June 3, 2013

June 3, 1922

Alain Resnais is a major French director, born on June 3, 1922. His themes often concern human memory. By the time he made Hiroshima Mon Amour, (1959), from a screenplay by Marguerite Duras, he was already recognised as a major talent in cinema. The actress in this work, Emmanuelle Riva, has one scene in which she is outdoors, sitting on the grass,  and holding a white kitten. You might want to look at the site where I found this shot to get more detail in the photo.

Emmanuelle Riva in Hiroshima Mon Amour, 1959

Here's an interesting thing about this photo: she is holding the kitten the loving way you would actually hold one. This may seem like a surprising point unless you have studied photos of people with their cats. The photographed cat often has to be held to keep it still, to keep it from running off. But here, if you study the photograph the hand of the actress is cupped around the kitten, but in a manner which is not really restraining it: the fingers are open and barely touch the the feline. Whom should we credit for the tenderness captured in this shot? Not the cat; not the star, who is busy acting like she is remembering. Resnais must get the credit and so we see a bit of why he is considered a genius.

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