Woman in the Dunes: Geology as Sociology

April 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

woman in the dunes

Teshigahara might not be Japanese cinema’s most subtle symbolist or innovative formalist, but his uncanny ability to craft startling depictions of existential deadlock has cast him as one of the most enduring figures of the New Wave despite his relatively concise body of feature work. While one can find many parallels between his films and those of Antonioni, Resnais (another veteran of the documentary form) or even Bergman at his more abstruse, it could be said that Teshigahara’s greatest spiritual contemporary is none other than Rod Sterling’s immortal television series The Twilight Zone and its countless short form excursions into the impenetrable irreal that haunts all four of Teshigahara’s collaborations with novelist Kōbō Abe. Internationally hailed as a  masterpiece, his Woman in the Dunes (1964) has largely been seen the artistic peak of this tetralogy—the first of which being Pitfall (1962), a wonderful analysis of which can be found [here] by our very own Mr. Triangles.

By way of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, I seek to continue Mr. Triangles’ Neo-Marxian reading of Pitfall into Woman in the Dunes with the specific concerns of connecting the radical implications of Deleuzian materialism with the influence of Kiyoteru Hanada’s “mineralism” on Kōbō Abe’s post-Communist political attitudes and subsequently Teshigahara’s cinematic interpretations of his works. « Read the rest of this entry »

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