Saturday, May 16, 2009

Woman in the Dunes (1964/65)

An amateur entomologist searching for insects by the sea is trapped by local villagers into living with a mysterious woman who spends almost all her time preventing her home from being swallowed up by advancing sand dunes. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 (1+1) Oscars:

Best Foreign Language Film: Japan (for 1964)
Best Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara (for 1965)

To explain that, it's something that the Academy doesn't allow anymore: for a film to get nominated in two different years, in one of them as representing its country for Foreign Language Film and in the next year for representing itself (judging by the American release date).
Now this is what I call and ART FILM. It's so unusual, so stylish, with excellent excellent excellent camera work and fascinating direction. Is it a film I would consider seing twice? I don't think so, but that doesn't take away the impact of the first watch. You can easily tell this one is a special film even from the first frames. The subject is so strange, but it gets to you; it's not a feel good movie, it's like a painting: intimidating to look at and I have lots of respect for it.
The only other auteur I can connect it with is some early Ingmar Bergman.
Of course it deserved the Best Director nomination. It would've even deserved the win, but the nomination itself is a huge achievement (as the Oscar has NEVER went to the director of a foreign language film; I think Ang Lee came closest with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). It also deserved many other nominations: like Best Actor, Best Cinematography (!!!), Best Editing, Best Sound, Best Adapted Screenplay...
My rating for the film: not sure :) I have no idea. I wish the ending would've been perfect, but it wasn't. I'll go with 8.5/10. I might move it to a 9 pretty soon. I don't love it, but I'm humble in front of this great achievement of moviemaking.

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