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.
The mother of a feudal lord's only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back.
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 »
Jumpei is seen from behind, adjusting his clothing after urinating at the wall of sand. When he turns around, there are no wet or discolored areas in the sand as there would be if he had actually urinated. See more »
This film is very eerie, disturbing, scary, and gripping. It is made in a style very similar to that of a old Twilight Zone episode. The film is about an entemoligist who takes a vacation to catch bugs in a desert area near the sea. He misses the last bus out so he spends the night in a woman's hut at the bottom of a deep pit. She is part of a slave labor group who must dig to keep the town from being burried by the sand. The next morning, he relizes that he's been trapped there for the rest of life. At first he loathes the woman. He ties her up and refuses to shovel so they will let him go. They then give him some sake, which makes him thristy. The water is all gone and the man almost dies of thirst. The man agrees to start working again. He finds that he loves the woman and actually begins to enjoy being confined. This is haunting, erotic Japanese cinema at is absolute best. Hiroshi Teshigahara is an exellent filmaker, it's almost incredible that filmaking was only a small fad of his and he was mostly interested in flower arranging. This is very much a horror film. The monster is the sand. The sand is portrayed here as an unstoppable force, a sort of Godzilla. The sand also causes strange supernatural occurances. My rating: ***** out of *****.
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