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House of Sand and Fog - Preview



Preview by: Jack Foley

AN EARLY contender for one of next year’s best movies, looks set to be the House of Sand and Fog, Vadim Perelman’s feature film debut, which has already been listed by America’s National Board of Review as one of 2003’s 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 there.

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, who’s composing the score, and Oscar nominee, Roger (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) Deakins, as the film’s cinematographer.

Andre Dubus III’s 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…about 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?"

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