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.
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Robert De Niro,
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
At one point, the entomologist collects an antlion. This insect is from the family Myrmeleontidae. The larval stage is often called a "doodlebug" in the United States. The insect ensnares its prey by digging out a pit in loose sand. When the prey falls into the pit, it is unable to get out and becomes food for the antlion. This is symbolic of the situation the entomologist himself encounters when he is trapped in the sand pit. 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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What is heralded as a classic piece of Japanese cinema and I suppose a rave at Cannes during it's time, Woman In the Dunes is a great film but certainly not to everyones tastes.
A man who is searching for a unique insect in a sandy dessert area ends up trapped in a sandpit where a young woman lives. It becomes apparant that while the man can not escape the woman decides this is her future and that there is little she can do but accept it.
The film is an old black and white film, and many a times it is hard to see what is going on. The story is slow paced, and there is a lot of confusion through much of the film as to why the characters are in this 'unusual' situation. However, I completely got into it and was absorbed by the man who was felt trapped like an animal, and the woman who was accepting of her fate and somewhat comfortable. Also the shots of the dunes are spectacular, the film feels totaly claustrophobic, and it's one of this films which you keep asking yourself every 5 minutes, "How the heck did the film this!?".
But because of its slow nature and somewhat snail pacing and payoff many might not like it. Too bad.
Rating 8 out of 10.
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