Detroit Film Theater – Woman in the Dunes

I’m excited to go see the Hiroshi Teshigahara film “Woman in the Dunes”. Actually, I’m kind of a sucker for any black and white Japanese cinema.

Woman in the Dunes was worth every bit of the uncomfortable seat int he DFT (they’re just not made for tall gaijin like me.) Part mystery and part creepy psychological thriller, I left the theater uneasy and pensive.

I won’t spoil the movie for anyone wanting to see it. I will say I was mesmerized by Teshigahara’s use of close-ups and abstract textures. His sense of pacing was superb, with long establishing shots and lonely wandering lanscapes slowly eroding along with the sanity of of the main characters.

I left feeling the entire film was somewhat of an allegory – the inevitability of decay and destruction, the unknowing complacency many carry with them throughout their lives, the struggle of man against nature and each other. There were some highly evocative, pulse pounding and even erotic scenes in the 147mins of high-contrast black and white. Coupled with the soundtrack of squealing violins, detuned koto and thumping taiko that was reminscent of Iannis Xenakis, it is definitely a film worth experiencing.

Once I can afford to collect Japanese films, this will be sitting next to Kiru, Ran on my shelf.

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