The Woman in the Dunes
Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara
Well my sister/best friend just moved to England for six months which means this day is going to be devoted to movies and other distractions that I can think of to do without taking off my pajamas. My misery is your reading material, ladies and gentlemen.
Japanese films rarely disappoint and this is no exception. This is the story of Junpei, who gets tricked into entering a sand quarry with no escape. A young widow is the only inhabitant and they are forced everyday to try to prevent the house (and themselves) from being buried by sand. Romance ensues which leads to sand sex which must be...uncomfortable to say the least.
One of the saddest moments comes when Junpei is explaining to the widow how he will be rescued. He says that once he fails to go come to work, his colleagues will come to his apartment looking for him. They will see that he has a book open about his location and will be able to tell where he has gone. The reality is, we always seem to overestimate our own importance in the world.
I have been researching this film on the internet and a lot of people seem to think the woman symbolizes how men become trapped in a relationship and eventually settle down to their fate though they still craze their freedom. While this is an extremely unflattering portrait of women, I can definitely see where they are coming from. I looked at it in a more positive way. Anything can become bearable, even being trapped in a sandy hole in the ground, if you have someone you love with you. Oh, that and we are all entirely insignificant and no one would miss us if we were gone.
This is definitely a must see movie and I look forward to hearing other theories about the film in the comments sections.
Junpei captures an antlion at one point in the film. An antlion digs a hole in the sand and waits for insects to drop in so they can eat them. Ooooo symbolism.
Available on YouTube: