Wonderful film, so-so DVD,
This review is from: Woman Of The Dunes  [DVD] (DVD)
A 2 hour black and white Japanese movie from 1964 whose plot is pretty much, guy trapped in pit, can't get out - sounds pretty grim viewing, right? Wrong. I can't remember the last time a movie flew by so quickly, hypnotic is the only way to describe it. We follow a fairly arrogant character, an entymologist, who is collecting insects in a remote area of sand dunes. He accepts an offer of overnight accomodation from an elderly local and is taken to a large crater in the dunes with a rickety house at the bottom. Only access to this house is via a rope ladder. Our man puts this strangeness down to rural hick customs ("it'll be an adventure") and descends the ladder, after all there's a welcoming lady down there, what could go wrong?. What does go wrong is fascinating and not in the least predictable.
This is a visually beautiful film full of rippling sand and strange fleeting images. I was hooked for the duration. Only a fairly gratuitous mask scene, a la Onibaba, seemed out of place.
Only reason I've not given this 5 stars is due to the bare bones disc. Apart from a decent booklet there is no extras, not even a trailer. Surely Mark Kermode or Tony Rayns could have supplied at least a commentary? Shame Eureka didn't release this but at least the picture quality is excellent.