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Woman In The Dunes - Movie Review

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Del Griffith

Japanese Cinema

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Woman in the Dunes, by director Hiroshi Teshigahara, is a film of significant importance to anyone studying film, culture, or art. It made quite an impact in 1964 when it was released, and to this day is regarded as a masterpiece among many film circles. This once again credits my theory; the only difference between art and entertainment is that the former lacks the latter.

Briefly, the story is about Niki Jumpei (Played by Eiji Okada), a scientist who studies insects. He travels to a remote desert village in search of rare specimens, when he becomes trapped in a house surrounded by impassable sand dunes. The "Woman", is played by Kyoko Kishida. All of the villagers seem to keep him trapped down there, and over the course of the film, he falls in love with the Woman, and opts to stay at the end when he is presented with the option of leaving.

In terms of technical filmmaking, the movie is very well done. The cinematography in particular, is noteworthy. The blend of image contrast, lighting, and the specific shot composition, give each frame a texture that you can almost reach out and touch. Gary Morris writes in the Bright Lights Film Journal "Hiroshi Segawa's superb black-and-white cinematography makes Jumpei's "nature prison" one of the most memorably weird of cinematic environments." (

This film also seems to be credited as being a surreal adventure. While there may be a lot of subtext, hidden messages, themes, and over glorified imagery, I did not find this film to be surreal or a revelation of any sort. Honestly, I didn't like the film at all. As with almost every single Japanese movie I've ever seen, the premise always sounds amazing. When



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