Woman in the Dunes (Suna no onna)

Woman in the Dunes

Do you shovel to survive, or survive to shovel?

Woman in the Dunes is an interesting film, if anything. It’s very existential, and meanders along without posing any real questions or posits. It is much like the New Wave films in this regard, although this is much more abstract.

A man collecting insects is offered a place to stay the night; an unusual house at the bottom of a sand pit. Once there, though, he discovers the villagers have trapped him in the pit along with its sole occupant, a woman. After a while, he begins to accept his position, and begins shoveling the ever-pouring sand just to survive. The question is asked as to why they work so hard to keep the house from submerging, but no answer is really given. The answer isn’t the subject. The shots of the sand itself are quite beautiful in their own way, and there are a lot of them. The acting is good, and the cinematography is bleak and evident, if somewhat dark.

This is truly a film experience unlike any other. Whether that experience is good for you or not is up to each person, however. I found it to be intriguing, if nothing else. The film also drags a lot, and feels as long as its running time, which is points off to me, but otherwise, this is a fine abstract film that nevertheless engages your mind enough to warrant its exhibition.

Arbitrary Rating: 7/10


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