Sorry for not posting last weekend, I hope I can make it up this weekend!
This film is Woman in the Dunes, a 1964 Japanese film by Hiroshi Teshigahara.
An insect collector from Tokyo, searches for insects living in sand dunes and finds himself in a strange situation. When missing the bus, he is invited to spend the night at a young widow’s house, which is located at the bottom of a sand quarry. The next morning he discovers that the ladder leading up has disappeared and that he is in fact kept captive, forced to help the widow every day, to the endless task of collecting the sand and give it to the other villagers sell to factories. The story is a clear reference to the myth of Sisiphus, the Greek king who the gods punished by torturing him to spend eternity rolling a rock to the top of a hill, only to see it roll back down.
One of the finest moments in Japanese cinema, Teshigahara does an amazing job in putting the viewers in the hero’s shoes and make them feel his frustration and anger. Apart from the great direction and cinematography, the amazing music by Tōru Takemitsu, acts as a character itself and makes the film even more imposing.
The film was very well accepted and awarded the Special Jury Prize in the 1964 Cannes Film Festival. It was also nominated for two Academy awards, Best Foreign Film and Best Director.
Week #5 was about a great Japanese film nominated for two Academy awards. Week #6 will feature another Academy award nominated film - how appropriate since we are getting closer to the big Oscar night!
Next week’s film: The Great Escape (1963)