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Episode 45: Woman in the Dunes (1964)

Hiroshi Teshigahara’s 1964 film Woman in the Dunes, adapted from the novel by Kobo Abe, is fascinating and disturbing.

The film’s protagonist is a man trapped by villagers, in a dilapidated house at the bottom of a sand pit; the sole occupant of which is a woman. He soon realizes that there is no escape from the pit for either of them. As time passes, the couple must contend with the futility of their situation, and the ever encroaching sand. And, as the man becomes settled in his new-found purgatory, he realizes that escaping the pit may not be the way to freedom.

On this episode of Captive Eye, David Kleiler, J. P. Ouillette and I consider the varied nuances of Woman in the Dunes, which was recently released on Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection.

About Steve HeadAbout David KleilerAbout J. P. Ouillette

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About Stephen Slaughter Head

Stephen Slaughter Head was co-editor of the Star Wars website, co-founder of the much-loved movie news website IGN FilmForce, and editor of the movie section at AOL’s As a film journalist he has more than 2,000 published articles at His work has also appeared on, and in Esquire magazine and the Boston Phoenix. Stephen hosts the Diabolique Webcast.

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