IMDb > Woman in the Dunes (1964)
Suna no onna
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Woman in the Dunes (1964) More at IMDbPro »Suna no onna (original title)

Photos (See all 16 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
Woman in the Dunes -- Open-ended Trailer from Milestone

Overview

User Rating:
8.3/10   8,740 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 131% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
Kôbô Abe (novel)
Kôbô Abe (screenplay)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Woman in the Dunes on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 October 1964 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The most provocative picture ever made. See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Haunting Parable of Survival Among the Rational and the Primitive Amid Enveloping Sand Dunes See more (59 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Eiji Okada ... Entomologist Niki Jumpei

Kyôko Kishida ... Woman
Hiroko Itô ... Entomologist's wife (in flashbacks)
Kôji Mitsui
Sen Yano
Ginzô Sekiguchi
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kiyohiko Ichihara
Hideo Kanze
Hiroyuki Nishimoto
Tamotsu Tamura
Create a character page for: ?

Directed by
Hiroshi Teshigahara 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Kôbô Abe  novel
Kôbô Abe  screenplay
Eiko Yoshida  scripter

Produced by
Kiichi Ichikawa .... producer
Tadashi Ôno .... producer
 
Original Music by
Tôru Takemitsu 
 
Cinematography by
Hiroshi Segawa 
 
Film Editing by
Fusako Shuzui 
 
Production Design by
Tôtetsu Hirakawa 
Masao Yamazaki 
 
Production Management
Iwao Yoshida .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Masuo Ogawa .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Ichirô Katô .... sound recordist
Keiji Mori .... sound effects editor
Shigenosuke Okuyama .... sound recordist
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Mitsuo Kume .... lighting technician
Yasuhiro Yoshioka .... still photographer
 
Other crew
Kiyoshi Awazu .... title designer
 

Production CompaniesDistributors
Create a character page for: ?

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Suna no onna" - Japan (original title)
"Woman of the Dunes" - , International (English title), UK
"Woman of the Sands" - Canada (English title) (new title)
See more »
Runtime:
123 min | 147 min (director's cut)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Certification:
Australia:M | Netherlands:12 | Netherlands:18 (1965) | Norway:15 (TV rating) | UK:X (original rating) | UK:15 (re-rating) (1992) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:18

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Eiji Okada improvised much of the first dinner scene.See more »
Quotes:
Woman:But... aren't the girls in Tokyo prettier than me?
Entomologist Niki Jumpei:Nonsense!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Spider-Man 3 (2007)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
Haunting Parable of Survival Among the Rational and the Primitive Amid Enveloping Sand Dunes, 24 July 2007
Author: Ed Uyeshima from San Francisco, CA, USA

Like Robert Bresson's "Au Hasard Balthazar", Hiroshi Teshigahara's 1964 existential allegory can be a challenge to sit through if you are not prepared to be swept away by its elliptical profundities. Written for the screen by Kobo Abe based on his 1962 novel, the surreal, highly symbolic story focuses on an amateur entomologist on what he thinks is a day trip from Tokyo to a seaside area with vast and immense sand dunes. As he looks for a particular beetle that he thinks will bring him fame within scientific circles, he loses track of time and misses the last bus back to the city. Local villagers come upon him and take him to a woman who can provide overnight lodging. As it turns out, she lives in the bottom of a sand pit reachable only by a rope ladder. With the ladder gone the next morning, it dawns on him that he is being held captive by the villagers.

From this revelation, Teshigahara and Abe focus on how the man deals with the situation and his evolving feelings toward the woman. In order to survive, she reveals that she shovels sand all night for the local construction company in exchange for weekly rations that are dropped into the pit by a pulley. Meanwhile, the sand takes a life of its own as it encroaches upon their existence in ways most unexpected. Already well known from Alain Resnais' "Hiroshima Mon Amour" (1959) and starring opposite Marlon Brando in 1963's "The Ugly American", Eiji Okada dominates every scene of the movie as the emotionally volatile entomologist evolving from sexist entitlement to humiliating desperation to serene resignation. As a representation of supposedly civilized rational thought amid the primitive surroundings, it's a masterful if sometimes overripe turn where only the sand threatens to upstage him.

As the woman, the offbeat-looking Kyôko Kishida initially seems to be playing Friday to Okada's Robinson Crusoe, but her character starts to reveal layers that startle and fill in necessary plot details. Their relationship becomes highly charged with several scenes that move mercurially between violent and erotic, the capper being a harrowing, Lord of the Flies-type of public act in front of the villagers. Hiroshi Segawa's black-and-white cinematography is nothing short of amazing with memorable vivid images such as the abstract patterns of the dunes, the skin textures flecked with sand granules, and the off-kilter shot compositions that amplify the sheer oddness of the circumstance. The film's overall unnerving tone often makes it feel like an extended episode of a "Twilight Zone", and Toru Takemitsu's unsettling music adds to the eerie atmosphere.

Made for less than $100K, Teshigahara's film was such an art-house hit that he received an unexpected Oscar nomination for Best Director alongside the mainstream likes of Robert Wise ("The Sound of Music"), David Lean ("Doctor Zhivago") and William Wyler ("The Collector"). Currently available only as part of a box set from the Criterion Collection, "Three Films By Hiroshi Teshigahara", the 2007 DVD contains the full 148-minute director's cut (twenty minutes were cut when initially released for international audiences) and a helpful video essay by film historian James Quandt. Be forewarned that the film will feel overlong for the uninitiated, especially since most of the action takes place between two people in a sand pit, but this is a worthwhile cinematic achievement by any stretch of the imagination.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (59 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Woman in the Dunes (1964)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
[spoiler warning 4 the thread] Why the ending is the way it is.Thoughts? delia_35
Why is this movie not on the top 250 IMDB? tcsung
Two part question icrednagant
My essay on Teshigahara's 1960s films head_radio
2 questions (a little scientific) junderbr
Entomological films eddycon
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Face of Another The Collector Battle Royale Holes Heaven
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Drama section IMDb Japan section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.