Woman in the Dunes (Suna no Onna) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Woman in the Dunes (Suna no Onna) Reviews

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½ October 11, 2016
Gripping horror with such realism. Profoundly smart and battling enduring. Outstanding in both idea and performance.
September 21, 2016
A surreal film that I found relevant to many people's everyday life. Definitely recommend it - I will never view sand the same.
September 7, 2016
Without a shred of doubt, this film became one of my favorite films of all time. It's a work of art and a spectacle that is really something to behold.
July 23, 2016
The premise of the film is so simple that you don't exactly question where the story will go. For works as miserablist as this, you care about the cinematography, the soundtrack and everything decorative (which is great here, by the way). But there was an unexpected sequence: that when the villagers were attempting to humiliate the scientist and the woman together. That one lifted this slightly above a standard Nietzche affair that you could have seen from Bela Tarr's The Turin Horse.
½ May 1, 2016
Great compelling story, well acted, written and directed. Was not a fan of the music, but regardless, a great movie.
April 25, 2016
good but weird says its an allegory but of what i'm not sure maybe man vs nature
January 28, 2016
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 live at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. No matter how hard she tries, she can't climb up the loose walls of sand. If she doesn't keep working, her house will be buried by it. When a man is added to the mix, the oppression of women also comes into play. The two live together in the dirt, clinging to one another out of desperation, and begin to believe that they belong where they are, their work providing them with a purpose. Their "superiors" give them just enough to survive, as well as opiates like alcohol and cigarettes to keep them complacent. They use them as a source of amusement as well as a source of income. Although the pair gains a further understanding of their environment that makes living bearable, escape is almost never possible. While it's certainly possible to read these developments as a commentary on the futility of human existence, it proves much more rewarding to view the film as a social satire instead; either way, it's an undeniable masterpiece.
November 15, 2015
I expected a weird movie, and it wasn't really that weird, just a totally unexpected story unfolding. Very original story and very nicely made. The sense of claustrophobia comes across better than it does in "Buried" which is some feat. A real classic film for those who enjoy something different.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2015
Woman in the Dunes is a must-see for anyone who loves black-and-white films. The cinematography has definitely earned this film some future rewatching, for me. The other elements of the film are above par, though not the greatest; the story is compelling, though it trails off at the end. While Woman In The Dunes is like the Twilight Zone meets 1960s Japanese cinema, still it is something beyond that and warrants a high rating.
August 30, 2015
Mesmerizing cinematography, unusual and interesting plot. Definitely look forward to watching again!
July 19, 2015
In the sands of life. Quintessence of japanese avantgarde and buddish philosophy.
March 10, 2015
Capillary action. Good soundtrack.
December 17, 2014
Much like the creepiness of Blind Mountain (2007), a man goes to a rural village in search for rare bugs, and finds himself trapped in a sand valley in a house and a lonely woman. What ensues is a battle of wits, as the villagers do not want him to leave, but he has to try and escape. Featuring an invasive musical score and plenty of underscored eroticism, it feels like a fever dream instead of a drama. The slow decline of the hero's willingness to leave will haunt viewers, showing the futility of one's surroundings when one gets complacent.
December 12, 2014
This is a slow film but it is very interesting visually. The story plays out with ease and has a very surreal quality to it all.
October 13, 2014
So good a meditation on confinement beautifully shot has aged very well
May 31, 2014
A brilliant movie. The cinematography is unparalled, with portrait-like, haunting images of falling sand and its movement. The acting is spectacular - both characters are great, and the story is outstanding and very thought-provoking, philisophical, and disturbing. It's a stark reflection on human nature and how we adapt and conform to our circumstances, and how what originally seems like hell can end up feeling like home - which is pretty scary, and puts the mind into knots, but it's something to think about. Both the best and worse aspects of human nature are showcased, and the huge complexity of life, the mind, and ethics. Overall, a spectacular movie - one of cinema's true masterpieces.
Super Reviewer
May 29, 2014
This is not your typical Japanese film. It is strange but very intriguing. I get the sense that there is a lot going on here that I am not perceiving but it doesn't scare me away from the film.
May 15, 2014
Neorealism and avant garde film make a bizarre marriage in this engrossing film. A man is thrown into a sandpit with a woman living in a house where she spends her nights digging up the sand to prevent being buried by the constantly-shifting sand.

Sound interesting? I didn't think so either. Yet I found this oddly hypnotic and rather tragic in the end. The director, whose art of choice was sculpture before film, conveys the textures of skin, sand, and water brilliantly. It's like watching an ASMR video on Valium.
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