Follow Us on Twitter

House of Sand - Preview

House of Sand

Preview by Jack Foley

ACCLAIMED Brazilian-born director Andrucha Waddington has been wowing several film festivals with his follow-up to Me You Them (Eu Tu Eles), the epic House of Sand (Casa de Areia).

A strong performer at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the film chronicles the lives and fortunes of three generations of Brazilian women struggling to find their place amidst an encroaching desert and the relentless march of time.

Aurea’s tale begins in 1910 when she and her mother, Maria (Fernanda Montenegro) arrive at a labyrinth of sand in northern Brazil where her insane father, Vasco, plans to start a farm. Desperate to return to the city, Aurea (Fernanda Torres) cannot get across the dunes alone with her elderly mother and unborn child. But then calamity strikes and the two women are stranded on their own.

Over the ensuing years, they become accustomed to life in the dunes and Aurea has a daughter in the “house of sand”. By the time an older Aurea (now played by Montenegro) has found her peace, her promiscuous daughter (now played by Torres) inherits her father’s lust for travel and escape.

When it previewed at Sundance, the festival website was moved to write that it offers “a profound portrait of passing generations and establishes Waddington as one of the most exciting directors in Brazil today”.

As it prepares to open in America later this month (July 2006), the acclaim only seems to be getting better.

Hollywood Reporter, for instance, described it as “an intriguing meditation on aging, the impermanence of time and man’s place in nature”, while Slant Magazine wrote that it’s “attuned to both the flowing passage of time and the charged silence between people”.

Premiere Magazine, meanwhile, wrote that “this quietly seductive elegy sweeps through six decades with a seamless sense of topographical texture and spatial editing” to create “a gorgeous tapestry”.

And Film Threat referred to it, simply, as “a massively beautiful epic”.

At Sundance, it was nominated for the Grand Jury prize and won the Alfred P Sloan Feature Film Prize for both director Waddington and writer Elena Soarez.

It looks to be another foreign language film that’s well worth keeping an eye on as it makes its way to UK screens.