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Woman in the Dunes

Woman in the Dunes

Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara. Starring Kyoko Kishida, Koji Mitsui, Hiroko Ito. (1964, NR, 123 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Thu., Aug. 2, 2001

This Japanese classic, which was written by Kobo Abe and based on his novel, is an existential parable­ and it is filmed in such a way that suits the themes. An entomologist is collecting insects in the desert when some locals help him by lowering a ladder down a sand pit into which he descends. He spends the night there in this strange abode with the woman who lives there. In the morning the rope ladder is gone, and he is compelled to engage in the woman's Sisyphean task of scooping out buckets of sand that are sent above by pulleys that then return with food. They dig in order to live ­ and live in order to dig. See www.austinfilm.org for more on the series.

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