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Unrelenting, unforgiving, immersive. Captures in two hours the six + it takes to dig your own grave.
A Masterpiece. Haunting, erotic, frightening, and in the end, even calming. in our own way, every one of us is in our own sandpit, and find a reason to stay. I can watch this and be terrified yet stimulated, both mentally and physically, countless times. A must see!
Hypnotic and potent. The allegory resonates ever more strongly as time passes, and the visuals have not lost their ability to mesmerize, even if the stock and transfer show their age. Strangely, the eroticism popular critics point out in the film features very little nudity, and is instead evocative without being obvious. There is something psychological in effect as the film's couple comes together, perhaps coming down to the sparse sound and lack of excess dialogue. The dream team of Teshigahara, Abe, Segawa, and Tekemitsu should have made more films together.
It creeps up at first, and brings out a terrifying horror experience. Every close-up of the sand and insects adds to the claustrophobic tension, and the feeling of growing madness brings true closure.
I was mesmerised by this but I do gravitate to anything conceptual in nature. It's a fascinating movie about a teacher who becomes trapped by a lonely young widow who lives below sand dunes. There is a slow burning, underlying eroticism to the film- perhaps the fact that a man and a woman are essentially trapped together in a slow moving, sifting, at times hostile environment. It is a movie about life, of existing somewhere and dreaming of being elsewhere but eventually surrendering to the forces at work. You will feel like you have sand in your toes at the end of it. It's a movie that does for sand what Hitchcock did for birds!
Right from the beginning of the movie, listening to the almost Kubrick-like unnerving soundtrack, I could tell that I was in for a movie that wasn't all that it seems. Pretty obscure at the beginning, don't really know what it's about. And then everything starts coming together.
This movie is almost like an introspective piece on many things. It's surprisingly psychedelic, with it's use of imagery and cinematography. It's pretty damn atmospheric too and haunting.
It's crazy how the house in the dune almost resembles hell and there being kept in there like damn hamsters in a cage. It' a pretty unnerving movie.
Overall, very artsy movie with an uneasy undertone. One time watch.
If it's at all possible to know nothing about this movie before you watch it, then do so. The predicament a Japanese entomologist finds himself in will become apparent soon enough. Director Hiroshi Teshigahara and cinematographer Hiroshi Segawa do a phenomenal job of creating unforgettable images of sand through tight shots and unique camera angles, and it may make you feel hot, sticky, and somewhat claustrophobic just watching it. Eiji Okada turns in a solid performance as the entomologist, and Ky?ko Kishida is brilliant as the 'woman in the dunes' who he meets. She has accepted her fate, difficult as it is, and tries to get Okada to accept it as well.
The film reflects existential, not Zen, themes, and belongs with Camus and Beckett. Life is meaningless in this pit, there is no escape, and the day to day toil is not only a struggle, but absurd and nonsensical. There is clearly a parallel being drawn to the bugs being buried in the sand as well as struggling futilely in test tubes earlier in the movie. It also reflects man's cruelty in the bugs pinned on boards to the forced labor. The scene towards the end, where the villagers look impassively down through masks and glasses with the taiko drums pounding, demanding a lewd display, is chilling.
There are a couple of very raw erotic scenes between Okada and Kishida, heightened by the conditions they find themselves in, and notably occurring as one wipes the other down. In trying to free ourselves of this painful world and the grime it coats us with, if even for only moments, we turn to the embrace of another, and take comfort in carnal moments. It's beautiful and somewhat pathetic at the same time. Okada also experiences a moment of transcendence when he invents a water pump, and sees it as a higher achievement than his original goal of discovering a new species of beetle and having it named after him. There is humanity again, displaying intelligence in improving his lot, and vanity. It's a somewhat grim film, but there is solace in these things. Definitely worth watching.
Woman in the Dunes, otherwise known as Stockholm Syndrome: the Movie, is a film that I knew nothing about before watching. I was totally shocked when I realized what was going on. It almost felt like a Twilight Zone episode with that twist. It was easy to sympathize with the protagonist for most of the film, although I kept wondering why he couldn't articulate all the ways freedom was preferable to this woman's life. The movie dragged on a lot longer than I think it needed to, but I suppose the length helps justify that finale. I didn't really understand the society or why they behaved in certain ways, for instance the big spectator scene was just disturbing. I think the film was effective, but tough to watch. Not exactly a recipe for a film I will love. However it is definitely a well-made movie, and it evoked a feeling that allowed me to get into the mindset of the protagonist which is a tough thing to do.
Gripping horror with such realism. Profoundly smart and battling enduring. Outstanding in both idea and performance.