Preview by: Jack Foley
AN EARLY contender for one of next years best movies, looks
set to be the House of Sand and Fog, Vadim Perelmans feature
film debut, which has already been listed by Americas National
Board of Review as one of 2003s top ten best movies.
The film stars Jennifer Connelly, as Kathy Nicolo, an alcoholic
whose husband leaves her, which leads to the bank's eventual foreclosure
on her house.
The property is subsequently put up for auction and bought by
an exiled Iranian air force colonel (Sir Ben Kingsley), a new
American citizen, who is looking forward to raising his family
But the stubborn Nicolo won't give up her home without a fight,
and enlists the help of a married police officer (Ron Eldard),
with whom she is having an affair, in order to win the battle.
The ensuing movie, which is based upon the novel of the same
name, by Andre Dubus III, has allegedly been referred to by the
influential LA critic, Jeff Wells, as maybe the best movie
DreamWorks has ever made.
A further indication of the strong expectation surrounding it
is that Dreamworks has moved the film's release date to the crowded,
competitive December 25 release date, in America, which is a strong
sign of the confidence surrounding it.
This decision was reportedly prompted by a preview screening,
which produced an extraordinary reaction.
Although House of Sand and Fog marks the first film from director,
Perelman, he is a veteran of TV commercials, and has assembled
a talented support team, including Oscar-winner, James (Titanic)
Horner, whos composing the score, and Oscar nominee, Roger
(O Brother, Where Art Thou?) Deakins, as the films cinematographer.
Andre Dubus IIIs book House of Sand and Fog was first published
in 1999, telling the story of two desperate people - Massoud Amir
Behrani, a once powerful and influential man in his native Iran
reduced to menial jobs in the United States, and Kathy Nicolo,
a recovering drug addict, with nowhere to turn - and their battle
for ownership of a house, which threatens to destroy both of them.
The novel became an immediate sensation, with book critics who
praised its power and emotion, and it was also a Finalist for
the prestigious National Book Award.
Those early accolades propelled the book to a bestseller, but
when Oprah Winfrey selected it for her Book Club, bringing Andre
Dubus III on as a guest on her show, the novel became a runaway
hit, topping all of the major bestseller lists.
Vadim Perelman, then a successful commercial director, was far
from Hollywood when he first saw the book House of Sand and Fog
on a bookrack at the Rome airport.
He read it as he crossed the Atlantic, and by the time he landed,
he knew his career had been set on a different course.
"I knew I needed to tell this story," he remembers.
"It is a story about loneliness and of being cast out
being an immigrant in a new country and, with regard to Kathy,
about feeling like an immigrant in your own country.
"Those are themes that are primal and universal. Who could
not relate to some aspect of that?"