Miyako, a housewife, becomes intimately involved with Kitano, her interior decorator. What at first was nothing more than a simple flirtation quickly becomes a love affair in which the two have late night rendezvous at hotels. Miyako lets Kitano fill out his desires by taking nude photographs of her which he holds onto as a keepsake. When the negatives fall into the hands of Ginpei, a teacher who has been observing the couple for sometime, Miyako must track him down out of fear of her husband learning of her love affair. Yoshishige Yoshida's Woman of the Lake is a complex, visually stunning film that analyses the female psyche as well as her place in society. Typical of Yoshida's films, Woman of the Lake is amazingly ahead of its time visually, using exquisite black and white cinematography to create an expressionistic visual poetry that has something to say in every composition. The atmosphere which Yoshida creates around Miyako is astounding, capturing the paranoia and loneliness this woman feels, fearful that she may be caught by her husband. A perfect example comes from a scene early in the film when Miyako is walking back to her husbands house after being with Kitano. Yoshida uses a combination of handheld tracking shots, tight compositions and this bright, intrusive spotlight behind her which perfectly captures Miyako's inner turmoil and paranoia. I would be lying if I said I understood everything in which Yoshida was trying to say in this film, but to me it's a story about woman's rights, with the photographs signifying the battle woman much engage in to simply fight for their own body and mind against the oppressive male-dominated culture. While this is nice and all, I do think the film is more complex than this. Every man in this story is sexually infatuated with Miyako, except her husband. She is an object of sexual desire and yet she finds herself very alone. Much of the film is shot with very wide lenses and desolate landscapes to capture this isolation which Miyako feels. Yoshida seems to point to this separation between carnal desires and companionship by showing Miyako in this light. Woman of the Lake is incredible intricate and full of ideas and although I may not have grasped everything Yoshida was trying to say, this film's complexity and beauty once again reaffirms why I believe Yoshishige Yoshida is the greatest filmmaker of all time.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.