Woman in the Dunes
(Suna no onna)
35mm Print / BAMPFA Student Committee Pick!
Eiji Okada, Kyoko Kishida, Hiroko Ito, Koji Mitsui,
The sands of time have not worn away the startling beauty of Woman in the Dunes, nor answered the fundamental questions of identity and commitment the film poses. A young widow lives in a pit-house and is fed by her neighbors; she is forced to constantly clear her pit of the sands that threaten to engulf the whole village. The villagers bring a passing entomologist, who has missed his bus home, to spend the night, and share her work and her bed—it seems, forever. Many scenes still haunt—the woman’s mysterious nocturnal labors, the man’s own Sisyphean attempts to escape as the community of sand people watch from on high. Who’s the insect now? “I’ve a job! I’m registered!” he protests, but the metamorphosis has already transpired. Hiroshi Teshigahara reverses the metaphor of the shifting sands of fate—here we have the shifting fates of sand, as in Beckett’s “Grain upon grain . . .”