Woman in the Dunes
I recall seeing “Woman in the Dunes” as part of a film festival at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. My foggy memory of this Japanese film recalls it being black and white and having very little dialog. Very much a sixties film.
“Entomologist Niki Jumpei (Eiji Okada) misses the last bus home when exploring for insects in a series of sand dunes, and is persuaded by local villagers to spend the night in a house at the bottom of the sandpit. An unnamed young widow (Kyôko Kishida) lives there alone, forced by the villagers to dig the sand that they sell to nearby cities for construction. Enslaved to dig sand alongside the widow, Niki plots his escape even as he adapts to his imprisonment.”
My version features a more fun Woman of the Dunes, getting ready to play in the sand rather than toil.
Suna No Onna | Woman of the Dunes (1964). Splendid, resonant allegorical drama. A scientist studying insects in the Japanese sand dunes finds himself trapped with a woman in a hut at the bottom of a pit. Superbly directed and photographed (by Hiroshi Segawa). Scripted by Kobo Abe from his acclaimed novel. In Japanese with English subtitles. JP Eiji Okada, Kyoko Kishida, Koji Mitsui, Hiroko Ito, Sen Yano; Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara; W: Kobe Abe; C: Hiroshi Segawa; M: Toru Takemitsu. Cannes ’64: Grand Jury Prize.
Movie classics like Woman in the Dunes reminds me of great old time movie houses like the Empire Theater in Livingston, Montana. The New State Theater was opened in 1935 as a single-screen movie house with 685 seats. By 1950, it was known as the State Theater.
It has been divided into two auditoriums and is now known as the Empire Twin Theater. It shows first-run films, and has a wonderful Streamline Moderne facade and marquee, with a vertical sign on top of the triangular marquee.
A later, rectangular-shaped sign, somewhat 1960’s or 1970’s-looking in appearance, has been added to the middle of the vertical with the word ‘Empire’ inside.
Or the Paramount Theater in Boston. The Paramount opened in 1932 as a 1700-seat, single-screen movie theatre. It was one of the first movie houses in Boston to play talking motion pictures. The theatre was named after its original owner, Paramount Pictures. It closed in 1976 and most of the Art Deco interior decoration was destroyed in the 1980s during the removal of asbestos.