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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Pitfall: Dirt As People

January 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

In the work of Teshigahara, the influence of literature was present regardless of Kobo Abe’s presence in collaboration because the melting pot that was his films held no constriction to genres or customs in order to get an idea across. The famous words, documentary-fantasy, are really not all that paradoxyl, for what else is art but a bunch of truth-telling lies? Aside from that, in an interview he stated he wanted to do a film about the coal industry at the time, and so he used this urge as a conduit for his social and political views, as well as experience since Pitfall would be his first feature film (as he had only done documentaries previously). « Read the rest of this entry »

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