Wednesday 13 March 2013
Woman in the Dunes 
Woman in the Dunes, the highly celebrated and influential Japanese New Wave work, was a compelling exploration of such themes as identity, sexuality, freedom, and the dichotomy of traditionalism and modernism, particularly from the perspective of post-War Japanese society. Based on a novel by Kobo Abe, this subtly formalist and surrealistic exercise was also a visual and stylistic tour de force, and a fascinating peek into psychological terror. The allegorical and Kafkaesque story began on a simple note - Junpei Niki (Eiji Okada), a Tokyo based entomologist, on becoming stranded in the middle of a desert during an expedition to collect insect specimens, is offered accommodation by a group of local villagers in a house located at the bottom of a dune and resided by a widow (Kyoko Kishida). However, he eventually realizes that he is trapped in the pit, and is at the mercy of the villagers for food and water supplies for which he must live with the lady and perform certain daily chores. Thus begins an incredible account of the gamut of emotions that the protagonist goes through – anger, frustration, desperation, calm and peace. The scorching relationship that he also gets embroiled in with his demure companion, despite never really loving or even liking her, also made this a highly sensuous film. The fine performances by the leads were well accompanied by their sizzling dynamics. The haunting narrative, nightmarish tone, brooding atmosphere, and disconcerting content, were marvelously emphasized by the mesmerizing photography and the ominous score, making this an unnerving yet gratifying experience.
Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Avant-Garde