Woman in the Dunes

Suna no onna

dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Hiroshi Teshigahara became the first Asian filmmaker to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director for his mesmerizing and erotic allegory about a man and a woman trapped at the bottom of a deadly sandpit.
We are very pleased to present a "director's cut" print of this classic, which is more than twenty minutes longer than the version once distributed in North America. While on a field trip, an amateur entomologist (Eiji Okada, the architect from Resnais' Hiroshima mon amour) is persuaded by a group of villagers to stay the night in a shack at the bottom of a sandpit — where he wakes the next morning to find that he is imprisoned with the widow (Kyoko Kishida) who lives there. The two are forced to spend every day shovelling away the sand that threatens to engulf them, their drive for survival igniting a sexual obsession. Toru Takemitsu's score adds immeasurably to the aura of eroticism and enigma, a counterpart to Teshigahara's tactile imagery of sand and flesh. Dunes won the Jury Prize at Cannes and Teshigahara was nominated for an Academy Award® as Best Director, the first Asian filmmaker so honoured.