Picture Gallery :: Woman of the Dunes
I’m tired today! Inky, who has finally returned from wherever he has been the last couple of weeks, and I stayed up watching ‘Woman of the Dunes’, possibly my favorite film of all time.
It’s got everything: sand – mountains and mountains of it, an entomologist (for Inky to identify with), a dusty woman in a hole (for me to identify with), loathsome villagers, sweaty dusty bodies, and, in between, long slow lingering pans across gobsmackingly beautiful drifts of sand. Made in 1964, ‘Woman of the Dunes’ is in the richest, most nuanced black and white – the kind of B&W that convinced an entire generation that there was no authenticity in colour.
For those who haven’t seen the film (go out and see it NOW!), the plot is simple: a salary man who dreams of being immortalised by finding and naming a new insect species, misses his train back from the desert. Villagers offer to accommodate him and he is lowered by rope-ladder to a house in a pit inhabited by a lone woman. Waking the next morning, he finds that the ladder is gone and he must spend his nights digging and bagging the endless stream of sand that threatens to bury them.
The Director, Hiroshi Teshigahara, made some 30 films during his life, although he is chiefly remembered as an ikebana artist. He made eight features, and over 20 short documentaries. Obviously he saw a strong relationship between the manipulation of transitory natural objects into eternal aesthetic forms, and the capture of light and shadows in silver dust.
There is a very good article about Teshigahara on Senses of Cinema (natch) >>
A review of Women of the Dunes on Midnight Eye >>