• TAKEMITSU at Film Forum: 'Woman in the Dunes'

    Taking place at Film Forum, TAKEMITSU is a 14-day festival of movies scored by the legendary Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu (1930-1996). Among the nineteen films to be screened are Hiroshi Teshighara's Woman in the Dunes (1964), Masaki Kobayashi's Hara Kiri (1962), and Akira Kurosawa's Ran (1985).

    We have partnered with Film Forum to produce a series of blog posts throughout the next two weeks which presents trailers, clips and explanatory notes for six of the Takemitsu-scored films.


    Film: Woman in the Dunes
    Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
    Year: 1964


    Woman in the Dunes trailer
    Courtesy Toho Co., Ltd.

    Bug-hunting schoolteacher Eiji Okada climbs to the bottom of a sandpit, where he finds widow Kyoko Kishida living in a shack—then can't get out. But his rages against an absurd fate slowly give way to a tormented passion. The Takemitsu score "adds immeasurably to the aura of eroticism and enigma, a counterpart to Teshigahara's tactile imagery of sand and flesh"—James Quandt, Special Jury Prize, Cannes.

    "Takemitsu's music for Woman in the Dunes relies almost totally on a string ensemble. The sounds, alternately shrill, harsh, and menacing, form a perfect soundscape ... but this 'composed' music is only part of Takemitsu's unique contribution to the film. The weird environment is the dominating quality of the film, and, recognizing this, Takemitsu gives life to the sand through sound. It is there at all times, even when a scene seems completely silent. The soft, barely audible sizzle or hiss or patter of sand—dripping, shifting, and constantly in motion—[it] inhabits every moment of the film, as it does every moment of the protagonists’ terrifying existence."—Peter Grilli

    "The sand has its own identity ... and without Toru's help, we never would have been able to realize this fully."—Hiroshi Teshigahara

    —Courtesy of Film Forum 

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