An entomologist searching for insects by the seaside is trapped by local villagers into living with a widow whose life task is digging up sand for them, and eventually develops strong feelings for her.
Late in the 1500s, an aging tea master teaches the way of tea to a headstrong Shogun. Through force of will and courageous fighting, Hideyoshi becomes Japan's most powerful warlord, ... See full summary »
Mouchette is a young girl living in the country. Her mother is dying and her father does not take care of her. Mouchette remains silent in the face of the humiliations she undergoes. One ... See full summary »
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 »
Entomologist Niki Jumpei:
The certificates we use to make certain of one another: contracts, licenses, ID cards, permits, deeds, certifications, registrations, carry permits, union cards, testimonials, bills, IOUs, temporary permits, letters of consent, income statements, certificates of custody, even proof of pedigree. Is that all of them? Have I forgotten any? Men and women are slaves to their fear of being cheated. In turn they dream up new certificates to prove their innocence.
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I get more and more impressed with the classics of Japanese cinema and this is def a highlight. Mesmerizing and artsy it portrays a etymologist and 'the woman of the dunes' trapped in sand. The trap itself obviously symbolizes the trap a certain desert beetle digs to lie in the midst of it waiting for prey which cannot help but sliding into it. Its the same for him, he cant climb the sand walls, the more he struggles the more the sand runs a little like the woman who in fear of the outside continues her sisyfosan existence.
The psychology between the two is excellently depicted. The tension is intensified trough images of sweaty skin and running sand. The cinematographer is a master in filming this. Lots of black. Editing also is sharp and very well done. Sound is minimal and fits the images' bleak and deserted dunes.
Much can be said about this movie, it is one for repeated viewings for sure.
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