Suna no Onna (Woman in the Dunes) (1964)

Suna no Onna (Woman in the Dunes) (1964)

Suna no Onna (Woman in the Dunes)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Suna no Onna (Woman in the Dunes) Videos & Photos

Movie Info

When entomologist Jumpei (Eiji Okada) travels to sand dunes on an expedition, he is met by a group of people who offer him a place to spend the night. They soon lead him to a house at the bottom of a sandpit. Upon climbing into the pit, he finds a young widow (Kyoko Kishida) living alone. Placed there by the villagers, her task is to dig sand out of the pit -- not only so that they can avoid getting buried, but so that the locals can use it for construction. The next morning, when Jumpei … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Kobo Abe, Eiko Yoshida
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 4, 2000
Criterion Collection


as Jumpei's Wife

as Niki Jumpei
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Critic Reviews for Suna no Onna (Woman in the Dunes)

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (8)

A bizarre film, distinguished not so much by Kobo Abe's rather obvious screenplay as by Teshigahara's arresting visual style of extreme depth of focus, immaculate detail, and graceful eroticism.

Full Review… | March 4, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Teshigahara's direction and Segawa's camera-work often render the mundane startling and new, a claim that only good films can make.

Full Review… | March 4, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

In stunningly composed images by Teshigahara and cinematographer Hiroshi Segawa, that eroticism becomes overwhelming.

Full Review… | March 4, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Woman in the Dunes remains a masterpiece, a timeless contemplation of life's essential mystery and a triumph of bold, innovative style.

Full Review… | March 4, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

A strongly allegorical, strangely engrossing film.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

More than almost any other film I can think of, Woman in the Dunes' uses visuals to create a tangible texture -- of sand, of skin, of water seeping into sand and changing its nature.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Suna no Onna (Woman in the Dunes)

An entomologist looking for bugs (he's looking for a specific one that will make a name for him in his peer group) in the sand of a seaside town misses the last bus of the night back to town and is convinced to spend the night in the home of a young woman, who lives in a small house in a mostly inaccessible sandpit, as do most of the other townsfolk. He slowly realizes that he has been tricked and that he is to stay there permanently. Thus begins a tale that is a metaphor for humans trapped in their existence and why they choose to not change their circumstances, even when given the opportunity...or at least partially about that. There's lots going on here. Beautiful photography of the sand dunes, and a couple of rather erotic love scenes between the two main characters. There is one potential sex scene that is pretty hard to watch, a bit reminiscent (to me anyway) of the "party scene" at the end of REQUEIM FOR A DREAM. The ending is left hanging a bit, and I haven't decided if the man's decision about his situation is a postive thing or a negative one.

Cindy I

Super Reviewer

the film is certainly gorgeous. the sand is mesmerizing. i didn't find it as 'erotic' as some however. i got the larger point about the futility of most of our activities but i didn't like what it seems to say about male-female relationships. even if it's true! lol

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

There is enough symbolism here to keep a whole team of cinematic existentialists busy for months. At its core, it's a film about a man who gets trapped in a hole. Too simplistic? Probably. It's the story of an entomologist who gets captured by a group of villagers and is forced to shovel sand along side the beautiful Kyoko Kishida (I could think of far worse fates). He spends most of his waking hours plotting his escape, but the longer he's there the more he feels obligated to his hole-mate. Is he falling in love? Is he learning the meaning of true freedom? Can he figure out a way to escape? Does he really want to? Is he an 'everyman' and the hole a representation of an oppressive society? Can I find a clever way to end this review?

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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