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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Folk and Its Discontents

December 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

For me, someone like Dylan contributed more to defining postmodernism with the (now rather pathetic) title to his 1964 opus The Times They Are a-Changin’ than a dozen obscurantist Lyotard essays ever did. If taken in a purely ironic way, postmodernism is the true advent of Dylan’s declaration, for it’s precisely this album—arguably Dylan’s most valiantly self-serious and tragically sincere—that stands to remind us all of just how little times had really changed and how silly it was, and still is, to expect signs of change from pop music. Stripping away the ideology, we can finally see how this premature rallying cry of The Times They Are a-Changin’ was really nothing more than a futile yearning for postmodernism’s true cultural arrival. « Read the rest of this entry »

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