Woman of the Dunes Review

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An entomologist searching for insects in the desert is trapped into a large hole where a women lives alone in an old house. A strange relationship grows between them.


The second greatest sand movie ever made (No.1: Lawrence Of Arabia), Hiroshi Teshigahara’s erotic psychodrama has all the claustrophobia, relationship dynamics and sexual tension of Big Brother and none of the Geordie voiceovers.

Niki (Okada), a reserved entomologist searching for specimens along a Japanese beach, is invited to take refuge in the home of village outcast Kyôko who lives at the bottom of a deep dune. The following morning, Niki realises the only means of escape — a rope ladder — is gone, and he is forced into an uneasy life with Kyôko shovelling the sand that threatens to engulf them.

As the unlikely pair become lovers, Teshigahara imbues the absurd conceit with tangible texture — BIG close-ups of sand and skin — and diverse emotional colour. If life reduced to its basics (work, eating, shagging, sleep) inevitably means some dull bits, this is hypnotic, emotionally wrenching filmmaking.