A profoundly moving parable told with beautiful simplicity, WOMAN IN THE DUNES begins as Niki Jumpei (Eiji Okada), a reserved entomologist, collects specimens along a Japanese beach. He is met by some villagers, who offer him both a place to sleep and a woman, and is led to a shack located
at the bottom of a sand pit, where he climbs down a rope ladder to the woman, Kyoko (Kyoko Kishida). The next morning, he notices that the ladder has been removed. A panicky urge to climb out of the pit is followed by a futile attempt to scale the sand walls, which cascade beneath his feet.
Helpless, he watches as Kyoko endlessly shovels the sand into buckets, which are then hoisted by the villagers above. In return, food and water are sent down--no shoveling, no food. Niki soon realizes the necessity of the woman's work. He becomes accustomed to his new lifestyle and takes the woman
as his lover. She becomes pregnant, and he must wrestle with his urge to escape and his growing devotion to Kyoko and his new life.
Beautifully photographed and confined almost exclusively to a single set, WOMAN IN THE DUNES is a poetic affirmation of life. As frustrating and claustrophobic as the man's situation may first appear, the film becomes increasingly seductive as it lulls the audience into the woman's sandpit
existence. Based on a novel by Kobo Abe.
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