All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
Woman in the Dunes
Haunting. Erotic. Unforgettable.
Jumpei Niki, a Tokyo based entomologist and educator, is in a poor seaside village collecting specimens of sand insects. As it is late in the day and as he has missed the last bus back to the city, some of the local villagers suggest that he spend the night there, they offering to find him a place to stay.
Words haven't been coming for me lately. But I cannot stop thinking of this movie. It felt to me like I had traveled back in time and caught a late night transmission of some forgotten dystopian sf film on TV. I felt like I imagined my father feeling as he must have seeing 2001 for the first time. When he took Polaroids of himself and friends wrote on them, "Observe the stoner in his natural habitat. Note the glazed look on his face and complete disconnection from reality." Alone with an accumulating set of empty soda cans, I felt like something was happening to me. Everything in this film just sung straight to me. Through me.…
You know those times where you have to go to a party, family gathering or any other event that you really don't want to and there's no way to get out of it or escape? Woman in the Dunes is that situation, except this time you're the only one invited and instead of a nice, secure house you're stuck in a small hut surrounded by mountains of sand and limited supplies. It's brilliant.
The story follows Junpei, a school teacher who, from what I can make of it, is on a three day desert adventure to catch unique insects and escape from the irritations of his life. After some wonderful, sprawling shots of desert vistas, Junpei is soon found stuck…
''Do you shovel to survive, or survive to shovel?''
Hiroshi Teshigahara's 1964 Woman in the Dunes; the centrepiece of a Triptych including 1962's Pitfall and 1966's The Face of Another is quite a work of genius. While it's visual language and unique setting is astonishing, it is allegorically and metaphorically equally as rich and demanding of analysis.
The plot involves Jumpei Niki, a Tokyo based entomologist and school teacher being entrapped by a group of villagers in a poor seaside town. He is cast into a pit of sand which houses a woman, who seems to exist to simply keep the sand from swallowing up her abode. When he discovers that he is in-fact imprisoned as a companion for the…
Hiroshi Teshigahara's Woman in the Dunes is, without a doubt, the best film I have watched all year. Originally based off Kōbō Abe’s novel of the same name, Woman in the Dunes tells the story of a man and a woman. The plot is simple. An entomologist, played to perfection by Eiji Okada, is locating insects on the sea of a poor village. He misses the last bus back to his city. He ends up spending the night with a local woman, played by Kyoko Kishida, at the recommendation of the villagers. Kishida was the weakest link of the film for me. She was nowhere near being bad, but her performance could not come close to Okada’s. When the man…
"No, no, dig up, stupid." -- Chief Clancy Wiggum
A pristine wonder of cinema from the opening title sequence all the way to its closing seconds. With a score that could haunt men with the highest composure and chilling cinematography and imagery that unpacks itself for an indefinite stay in your head, Teshigahara's MASTERPIECE Woman in the Dunes is film as close to its artistic peak as it can get.
The film is truly horrific though both the most straightforward and subtle ways, and it has the purest sense of tonal style ever captured by someone other than Andrei Tarkovsky. The scenes of the steep sand cliffs collapsing with a blast as well as the scenes of the sand slowly and ominously falling down the dune are spectacular shots…
Upon first viewing, what fascinated me most about this film was the uncanny way that humans resemble insects. Trapped in a sandpit, or trapped by the entomologists pins... they are both ultimately trapped by the lens of the camera we assess them through.
Essays could be written about this beautifully tragic and expansive film, but I'll save further evaluation for a second and third watch. There's too much I might miss. Until then...
"Do you shovel to survive? Or survive to shovel?"
There's nothing scarier than an individual representation of the hell that is oppression.
Absolving sins in the desert and then committing new ones, becoming one with the sand and then separating yourself from it. This is one of the few films where the black-and-white cinematography feels like it goes beyond technological necessity or beyond a quirky artistic choice and feels like it was the only way to shoot this particular story.
Wind passes over the dunes - though it all shifts on the surface, nothing changes.
It's an overly long episode of the twilight zone ...
I've never seen so much sand in all my life and I never want to see any more of it ever again.
Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964) 10/10
A haunting parable about man's instinct to survive. An entomologist (Eiji Okada) is tricked by villagers in a remote desert area into spending the night in a house deep down in a sand pit. His only companion there is a woman who digs sand which the villagers lift up to sell to construction companies in order to survive with the money received in exchange. The two prisoners in the sand pit being their means of survival. Gradually the man and woman come together in their own pursuit for survival by continuing digging up sand. Stunningly directed and photographed.
The working class as prisoners in an eroding pit.
Sand as the most visually spectacular metaphor for just about any fear you can conjure. A
A film as beautiful and abstract as Woman in the Dunes didn't need real, relatable characters to work, but it was sure nice when they decided to show up.
Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…