Hiroshi Teshigahara

Woman in the Dunes

Woman in the Dunes

One of the 1960s’ great international art-house sensations, Woman in the Dunes (Suna no onna) was for many the grand unveiling of the surreal, idiosyncratic world of Hiroshi Teshigahara. Eiji Okada plays an amateur entomologist who has left Tokyo to study an unclassified species of beetle found in a vast desert. When he misses his bus back to civilization, he is persuaded to spend the night with a young widow (Kyoko Kishida) in her hut at the bottom of a sand dune. What results is one of cinema’s most unnerving and palpably erotic battles of the sexes, as well as a nightmarish depiction of everyday life as a Sisyphean struggle—an achievement that garnered Teshigahara an Academy Award nomination for best director.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Video essay on the film from 2007 by film scholar James Quandt
  • Four short films from director Hiroshi Teshigahara’s early career: Hokusai (1953), Ikebana (1956), Tokyo 1958 (1958), and Ako (1965)
  • Teshigahara and Abe, a 2007 documentary examining the collaboration between Teshigahara and novelist Kobo Abe, featuring interviews with film scholars Donald Richie and Tadao Sato, film programmer Richard Peña, set designer Arata Isozaki, producer Noriko Nomura, and screenwriter John Nathan
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Audie Bock and a 1978 interview with Teshigahara

Purchase Options

Collector's Sets

Collector's Set

Three Films by Hiroshi Teshigahara

Three Films by Hiroshi Teshigahara

DVD Box Set

4 Discs

Ships Jun 13, 2018

$63.96

Out Of Print

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Video essay on the film from 2007 by film scholar James Quandt
  • Four short films from director Hiroshi Teshigahara’s early career: Hokusai (1953), Ikebana (1956), Tokyo 1958 (1958), and Ako (1965)
  • Teshigahara and Abe, a 2007 documentary examining the collaboration between Teshigahara and novelist Kobo Abe, featuring interviews with film scholars Donald Richie and Tadao Sato, film programmer Richard Peña, set designer Arata Isozaki, producer Noriko Nomura, and screenwriter John Nathan
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Audie Bock and a 1978 interview with Teshigahara

Woman in the Dunes
Cast
Eiji Okada
Junpei Niki
Kyoko Kishida
The woman
Credits
Director
Hiroshi Teshigahara
Story from the novel by
Kôbô Abe
Producers
Kiichi Ichikawa
Producers
Tadashi Ono
Cinematography
Hiroshi Segawa
Original music
Toru Takemitsu
Art directors
Totetsu Hirakawa
Art directors
Masao Yamazaki
Editor
Fusako Shuzui

From The Current

An Erotic Nightmare at Berkeley

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An Erotic Nightmare at Berkeley

One of the landmarks of 1960s Japanese cinema plays at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive this week.

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Woman in the Dunes’ Golden Anniversary
Woman in the Dunes’ Golden Anniversary

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Nov 21, 2008
Woman in the Dunes: Shifting Sands

Of the varied media the artist Hiroshi Teshigahara mastered, filmmaking is the one he let go. Upon the death of his headmaster father, in 1979, he assumed the full responsibility of leadership of the Sogetsu flower arrangement school, in which his si…

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Jul 10, 2007
The Spectral Landscape of Teshigahara,
Abe, and Takemitsu

The names Hiroshi Teshigahara, Kobo Abe, and Toru Takemitsu loom large among Japanese intellectuals of the late twentieth century. Each in his own right was an artist of peculiar genius, each resisting easy classification in conventional categories: …

By Peter Grilli


Jul 10, 2007

Explore

Toru Takemitsu

Composer

Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, known to Western listeners predominantly as the man behind the music in such iconic movies as Woman in the Dunes and Ran, was an acclaimed classical composer and music theorist well before he became one of his country’s most reliably brilliant scorers of film. A noted musical avant-gardist in midcentury Japanese intellectual circles, as influenced by jazz as by Debussy, Takemitsu first turned to feature film composing when he was commissioned (along with Masaru Sato) to write the hip, twangy-guitar-inflected score for the Ko Nakahira youth flick Crazed Fruit (1956). It wasn’t until a few years later, though, when his friend Hiroshi Teshigahara asked him to score Teshigahara’s short debut film, José Torres (1959), that Takemitsu’s career in movies truly began. The deeply sympathetic working relationship that they discovered on that project resulted in Takemitsu’s providing the haunting, instrumentally jarring themes for virtually all of Teshigahara’s subsequent output (“He was always more than a composer,” Teshigahara would recall. “He involved himself so thoroughly in every aspect of a film—script, casting, location shooting, editing, and total sound design”). Takemitsu became a go-to guy for many other major Japanese filmmakers as well, including Masaki Kobayashi (Harakiri), Akira Kurosawa (Dodes’ka-den), and Nagisa Oshima (Empire of Passion); his themes remain some of the most beautiful, spectral music ever written for the screen.