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View All Woman in the Dunes (Suna no Onna) News
All Critics (27)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (27)
| Rotten (0)
| DVD (3)
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.
Teshigahara's direction and Segawa's camera-work often render the mundane startling and new, a claim that only good films can make.
In stunningly composed images by Teshigahara and cinematographer Hiroshi Segawa, that eroticism becomes overwhelming.
Woman in the Dunes remains a masterpiece, a timeless contemplation of life's essential mystery and a triumph of bold, innovative style.
A strongly allegorical, strangely engrossing film.
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.
'Woman in the Dunes' is much more than a sumptuous visual experience. It is also a supremely unnerving fable of deterioration and purgatorial breakdown.
The couple's grimly inescapable dilemma becomes hugely complex and terrifyingly resonant -- a sexualised version of the Sisyphus myth, recounted with a distinct touch of Buñuelian absurdism.
Whether the grains are shown running like water or in super-large close-up, sand's rarely been this interesting.
A profoundly moving parable told with beautiful simplicity.
This is like some weird dream.
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.
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
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?
"are you shoveling to survive, or surviving to shovel?" one lead asks this of the other, and it is a telling question because it was the same question that circled my mind through the entire film up until the point it was asked. without question, woman in the dunes is one of the most unique pictures ever filmed, and its uniqueness brought with it brilliance. the plot is actually absurd and there are a few questions left unanswered, but teshigahara also made sure to answer the most important questions to make this outlandish story actually seem believable on every level. the acting was superb especially okada playing the lead, and the premise of this non horror film was more terrifying than just about any horror film ive ever seen. the cinematography was astounding, some of the best ive ever seen, and the film was effective in everything it attempted from start to finish. the music was also especially perfect for the film. the end of the film didnt go my way at all, but it wasnt supposed to. a genuine masterpiece of cinema.
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