Hiroshi Teshigahara: Suna no onna. Japan. 1964

Adapted from Kōbō Abe’s 1962 novel of the same name, ‘Suna no onna’ (translated as ‘The Woman in the Dunes’) is the piercing vision of a remarkable film artist, Hiroshi Teshigahara. Trained in the Japanese traditions of ‘Ikebana’ and classical painting, his turn to cinema was distinctly an aesthetic choice. In ‘Suna no onna’, he translates cinematic frames into canvases for his expression, while telling a story resonating with the myth of Sisyphus, within the existential paradigm set up by authors like Albert Camus, whose work Teshigahara was familiar with. ‘Suna no onna’ is both a brooding and scathing critique of human reasoned argumentation (the man-of-science, the urban man, the man governed by explanations for everything), and an emphatic tribute to the intuitive knowledge of nature, that which is instinctive and intrinsic, that which has not undergone the distortions imposed by human reason. Ultimately, ‘Suna no onna’ transcends itself as a cultural product of early 1960s Japan, to make a universal and specific statement about the human condition. Watch.

Woman in the Dunes | Hiroshi Teshigahara (1964).

 

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11 Comments on "Hiroshi Teshigahara: Suna no onna. Japan. 1964"

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Maggie
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Deep, dark, reflective and scathing. A classic.

heavenly sword
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His scientific tools and gadgets are very symbolic, and the repeated shots of his ordering of the dead specimens

Myles
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the whole here is greater than the sum of its parts.

davemc74656
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I consider myself to be an existentialist with some minor difference of opinion with death. We will all die like dogs anyway!

Hotshot t
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I’m doing a project on existentialism(the movement), and was looking for existentialist thinkers/writers in Asia. This movie has provided an insight. ty

Erfan
Guest

amazing sequence in the beginnning where he talks about how we needs ids, papers and certificates to prove we are human and living..

lildevilgurl152004
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They really don’t make movies like these any more, and what is amazing is that there are only 2 main characters, or maybe 1,,, and real-surrual-dream-nightmare,,luved it.

everydayGuitarist
Guest

I have not read the novel, must look for it.

Smita
Guest

His freedom is in his captivity. :)

dreamindroopy
Guest

Although it is a biological truth that all humans are fated to die, the actions that humans choose to enact during their time on earth are not set in stone,…..or as this protagonist will say “i shall not die a dogs death’. Brilliant.

Mikela
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I remember my parents telling me about this one. They had gone to see it together. I dont know what to make of it though!

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