Woman of the Dunes DVD
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Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara
Produced in 1964
Main Language - JAPANESE
A highly sensual metaphysical allegory, Woman of the Dunes - the second film from the multi-disciplined artist and ikebana master Hiroshi Teshigahara - still resembles little else.
An amateur entomologist is on leave studying beetles in a remote place of endless dunes. He misses the last bus (so he is told), and the villagers guide him to a house in the dunes owned by an attractive widow. As he descends the rope ladder to stay for the night, he doesn't yet realise what he is in for. His initial pity at the widow's circumstances soon changes on learning that he is trapped there to help her shovel away the sand that fills their pit every night. Abstract representations of dunes that appeared in the opening credits later form the pattern of a blouse the woman wears. There will be no escape. His indignation turns first to passion, then tenderness.
Soon we are immersed in a daily life dictated by sand. The erotic charge of bodies in close proximity is emphasised by screen-filling close-ups of grains of sand or beads of perspiration on skin. In such a dry environment, water too is eroticised as in scenes of body-washing, or the bound woman suckling the last drops of water from a kettle spout, or the slow rounding of dripping water.
As with Pitfall and The Face of Another, Woman of the Dunes was a collaboration between Teshigahara, writer Kobo Abe and composer Toru Takemitsu, who provides a perfect counterpoint to the extraordinary images, from abrupt, damped percussive strikes to a slow, granular crunching that means we never forget the dune's relentless falling. Fulfilling on every level.
Graeme Hobbs on 15th August 2006
Author of 276 reviews
The director's cut of Teshigahara's best known work. Out in the sand dunes a woman lives alone at the bottom of a pit. Local villagers bring her a man. He can't escape, but gradually they are drawn to each other. An atmospheric, highly charged and remarkably sensual exploration of the human condition.
Length: 141 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Cat No: BFIVD645
Format: DVD B&W
People who liked Woman of the Dunes
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