Sunday, February 23, 2014

Woman in the Dunes

A teacher on sabbatical performing entomological studies in a remote desert misses his bus back to Tokyo and is given lodging in a deep, cavernous sand pit inhabited solely by a young woman. When he attempts to leave the following morning and finds the rope ladder has disappeared, it soon becomes apparent he has been enslaved to provide companionship to his new bunkmate and take part in the futile task of shoveling sand for the locals to sell. Hiroshi Teshigahara's Woman in the Dunes is a powerful, sexually charged, incredibly well done allegory that is terrifying both in presentation and implication. Eiji Okada and Kyoko Kishida, playing the man and the woman respectively, deliver brave and haunting performances, and the film features a stunning use of sand photography.