This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
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.
It just doesn’t get any more absorbing, provocative, existential and beautifully shot than this! Woman in the Dunes is only my first Hiroshi Teshigahara film and it absolutely floored me with the excellent performances, claustrophobic atmosphere, introspective look into the human condition and isolation, visual allegories, memorable dialogue and an unnerving musical score which reminded me of Mica Levi’s work in Under the Skin to some degree. There are many impressive shots of sand slithering downward, having a constant menacing aspect to them. After all, our protagonists are forced to live in this pit because of sand and they end up finding purpose in living on those circumstances. You also get a strong sense of fellowship throughout the film, emphasizing traditional Japanese family and community values. Overall, Woman in the Dunes is a remarkable gem and a must-see for every film enthusiast!
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…
"No, no, dig up, stupid." -- Chief Clancy Wiggum
"That sand just ruins everything, doesn't it?"
Or else makes it all very sexy. Hard to tell.
Anyway, tactile cinema at its very best.
This film changed my life by changing my view of life, just as it did the protagonist's. It teaches the meaning of Zen in the true sense of the word--not as an "esoteric" religion of the East, but as a deeply humbling lesson in life.
thank you gemma thompson
I am thrilled that Hiroshi Teshigahara's "Woman in the Dunes" has been added to The Criterion Collection. I was worried that it might not make the cut due to the fact that it is so profoundly weird. And this masterful movie wears its strangeness on its sleeve.
The plot is essential and it is expertly crafted, but the movie's power is indebted to the resulting collaboration of the director and the cinematographer. Hiroshi Segawa's manipulation of the camera and what is filmed is flawless and most often magical.
The premise of the film seems and is absurd, but as WITD unfolds it feels legitimately real. Eiji Okada and Kyōko Kishida are exceptional in their roles. The raw eroticism is perfectly played, but the resonance of each movement is dependent upon on they were shot. The lens work here is spellbinding. And "Woman in the Dunes" is an essential film that comes close to "masterpiece" level.
Loading nothing but sands into baskets as your daily calling. The ceaseless drone of faraway locusts who are more free than you are. Constant leaking of sand from the ceiling into your food, water, and every oblique pore of your skin.
Jumpei, an amateur entomologist and academic, has a pretty bad time in his forced husbandry with a strange village's outcasted sand-loader, but eventually settles into this monotenous new life. On the hunt for the rare tiger beetle, he wanders astray in some coastal dunes and is bamboozled into permanent residence with a woman who inhabits a shoddy house within a sand pit, totally inaccessible to the outside world but given weekly rations of rice, water, cigarettes, and saké.
A classic Japanese movie which I think might be interesting for many reasons, not the least of which is the fascinating behavior of sand in dunes.
I'll never be at ease on a beach again... :O
Haunting, tense, mysterious, existential... :O
That soundtrack! Dark ambient traces back to 1964... :O
A more coherent review might follow later... when I get my thoughts straight...
Always remember to check the user ratings before booking Airbnb
I wish I could've loved this as much as some people do, and I even really felt it during the opening minutes. The whole piece is immaculately shot, though this is somewhat diminished by the constant cuts to landscape footage of shifting sand. I liked the simple metaphor of the bugs and Niki, and I liked his initial characterisation.
And that's about where I started having problems. You see, when a film starts strong it's easy to like it more as it goes on, but for me this can be completely undermined if a character states a fact they feel is true (and it's clear the writers believe it…
Shit gets spooky in the sand
Sun, sand, sweat and semen..
Movies that are slightly off.
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…