The greatest films of all time as voted on by the Criterion subreddit using a ranked top 10 methodology from…
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…
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
This is one for anybody who thought they could indulge in leasiuley pursuits without working some humiliating job in retail
"do you shovel to survive, or survive to shovel?"
I don't like sand. it's coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.
Simply haunting. A film I expected to be as dry as it's setting turned out to be anything but.
Think a Japanese Wake In Fright crossed with Persona. One of the most engrossing and disturbing pieces of cinema I've seen in a while.
"I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere." - Teshigahara
K I N O
What a horribly amazing film. The viewer feels the full force of the protagonist's plight, especially his powerlessness. The plot is almost like a humorous folk tale taken to its darkest depths. The setting is infinitely interesting and brings up all sorts of questions, which luckily do get answered late in the film. Sand is one of the best antagonists for human beings; sure you have water but that also brings life. Sand just brings thirst and dryness, inhospitable but for the more stubborn of beings. Then you also have a metaphor with the insects; the protagonist collects them in transparent jars and pins specimens to a board. He himself is put into a hole without a way out. The…
This five second video resumes this movie perfectly (no spoilers):
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
It's easy to throw around superlatives like "riveting" when referring to films that provoke a significant response from a viewer, but it's not at all excessive to refer to Woman in the Dunes as such. Although the bulk of the film takes place in a hole, Teshigahara manages to find an incredible amount of visually stunning images in the supremely limited environment, these images supported by a great, unsettling score that plays up the film's science-fiction elements.
Woman in the Dunes is, first and foremost, a simple and powerful indictment of systemic inequality, the premise involving a woman trapped in a hole, endlessly shoveling sand for the sake of the larger system a perfect encapsulation of what it's like to…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Woman in the Dunes exposes the fluidity of what is solid, a motif established in the opening shots which cut from a singular, crystalline grain of sand out to a sea of them. Everything "solid" is precarious from the start; the rope ladder teases this, but it is the rotting house full of seeping sand that drives this point home. All this proves to be just allegory for the inevitable rot of social formations: the rural village can't sustain itself as young people leave for the city; the woman's original family (or so she implies) falls victim to natural disaster, leaving her with a series of abducted and unwilling husbands for family; and chillingly, despite his conviction in the protective…
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All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…