An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.
Jumpei Niki, a Tokyo based entomologist and educator, is in a poor seaside village collecting specimens of sand insects. As it is late in the day and as he has missed the last bus back to the city, some of the local villagers suggest that he spend the night there, they offering to find him a place to stay. That place is the home of a young woman, whose house is located at the bottom of a sand pit accessible only by ladder. He later learns that the woman's husband and child died in a sandstorm, their undiscovered bodies buried somewhere near the house. The next morning as he tries to leave, he finds that the ladder is gone - he realizing that the ladder he climbed down was a rope ladder which is anchored above the pit - meaning that he is trapped with the young woman as the walls of the pit are sand with no grip. He also realizes that this entrapment was the villagers and the young woman's plan for him to stay there permanently to be her helper in the never-ending task of digging out ... Written by
Kyôko Kishida and director Hiroshi Teshigahara had a number of artistic differences in the film, ranging from Kishida's character's manner of dress to her symbolic importance. Kishida wanted to portray her character as a universal "every-woman" while Teshigahara insisted that her character was uniquely Japanese. Teshigahara's vision eventually won out. See more »
This classic film is one of the few to still live up to the name of "perfect film". Everything in the film is perfectly controlled and at the same time so natural.
The story involves an amateur entomologist captured in a giant sand pit somewhere on the coast of a small Japanese island. He tries to escape but a mysterious woman and some nasty villagers keep pulling him back in.
Despite being made in the early sixties this film still packs a dose of eroticism that most contemporary filmmakers pray to achieve. The black and white cinematography is absolutely haunting (watch out for poor video copies which are way too dark, there is a new DVD out which shows what the original print intended)
This is about as close as you can get to a perfect film. There is nothing that could ever be improved upon.
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