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Woman in the Dunes

Woman of the Dunes

A wandering insect-collector, whose only dream is to see his name immortalised by making a rare discovery, is offered sanctuary during a brief hike through a desert region of Japan...

The Hole That They've Dug
On descending a rope-ladder into a sandy chasm, the self-belittling city-dweller is welcomed into a curious home by a traditionally self-effacing young hostess. With charming ease they clash ideas and misconceptions, until the ever-encroaching night closes in.
The next day the man finds the rope-ladder has been withdrawn, and his free-roaming self-indulgence is replaced by imprisonment and toil - for you see, to keep this dell of semi-comfort alive, they must fight back the sand that threatens to swallow them whole.

The Wind That Blows Through It
One of those films about everything and nothing, Woman of the Dunes is beautifully filmed, full of contradictions (that make sense), and treacherously hard to define.

As a bizarre horizon-wide allegory of life trapped in a bowl, it's hard to touch. (And if that doesn't grab you, then the slow-burning plot also works as a 'great escape' thriller - all be it one where the tunnels have to be carved out of sand)

The erotic dependancy that evolves between the land-locked duo doesn't always favour the status-quo-aligned woman, but neither of the sexes come out on top in this world of complementary and competing forces. The overwhelming feeling is of a life led by 'exterior' whims, but one which you contribute to with both your goodness and your sins.

In this obscure oasis of emotion you never see the sand fall - it just accumulates. Yet despite its oppresive omnipresence, the camera catches it moving fluidly - suggesting that, even though the sand-trapped lovers may be fighting to stand still, they're making temporary paths that others can follow if they will.