Hiroshi Teshigahara Double Feature! In the allegorical WOMAN IN THE DUNES, an entomologist searching for rare insects in remote sand dunes is lured to a house at the bottom of a large pit, where he is trapped with a lonely woman and encroaching sands. The Twilight Zone-esque THE FACE OF ANOTHER stars Tatsuya Nakadai as a disfigured businessman who wears a mask to lead a double life. Both in Japanese with English subtitles.
WOMAN IN THE DUNES (SUNA NO ONNA)
1964, Janus Films, 123 min, Japan, Dir: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Director Hiroshi Teshigahara made only a handful of films, and like this one, most were adapted from the elliptical novels of Kôbô Abe. Eiji Okada, an entomologist searching for rare insects in remote sand dunes, asks villagers for shelter. They bring him to a house at the bottom of a large pit, inhabited by a lonely woman (Kyoko Kishida). When he awakens the next day, he finds the ladder out of the hole has been removed, and he has been conned into becoming the woman’s new man, solely in order to help her remove the shifting sand that is continually creeping in, threatening to bury the structure. An astonishing, bizarre allegory about life’s routines and a thoroughly engrossing psychological drama. With a brilliant score by Toru Takemitsu. Teshigahara won the Jury Special Prize at Cannes for 1964. Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film.
THE FACE OF ANOTHER
1966, Janus Films, 124 min, Japan, Dir: Hiroshi Teshigahara
This haunting meditation on identity focuses on Mr. Okuyama (Tatsuya Nakadai), a businessman who has been horribly disfigured in an industrial accident. Through his psychiatrist, the man is fitted with a lifelike mask molded from a stranger — but the new face sparks changes in Okuyama’s personality and he begins to lead a double life. Reunited with his WOMAN IN THE DUNES screenwriter Kôbô Abe and cinematographer Hiroshi Segawa, Teshigahara imbues this film with striking imagery and an unsettling atmosphere that recalls the creepiest corners of “The Twilight Zone.”
Series info: bit.ly/2ugKgvQ