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House of Sand (2005)
"Casa de Areia" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama  |  13 May 2005 (Brazil)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,581 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 35 user | 42 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

A woman is taken along with her mother in 1910 to a far-away desert by her husband, and after his passing, is forced to spend the next 59 years of her life hopelessly trying to escape it.

Writers:

(screenplay) (as Elena Soárez) , (story), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Dona Maria / Áurea / Maria
...
Áurea / Maria
...
Vasco de Sá
...
Massu - 1910-1919
Stênio Garcia ...
Luiz - 1942
Luiz Melodia ...
Massu - 1942
Enrique Diaz ...
Luiz - 1919 (as Enrique Díaz)
Emiliano Queiroz ...
Chico do Sal
João Acaiabe ...
Pai de Massu
Camilla Facundes ...
Maria - 1919
Haroldo Costa ...
Capataz
Jorge Mautner ...
Cientista
Nelson Jacobina ...
Cientista
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Zumbi Bahia ...
Carregador Vasco #1
Jefferson de Almeida Barbosa ...
Mirinho (1919)
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Storyline

Áurea arrives at a town in the dunes of State of Maranhão, Brazil, in 1910, having for female company only her mother Maria. She is pregnant and wants a way out of that arid place. But leaving is difficult and, somehow, she still hopes to find happiness there. The film follows these two lives for three generations, including Áurea's daughter. Written by lukejoplin@infolink.com.br

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1910s | dunes | goat | slave | desert | See All (35) »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some graphic sexuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 May 2005 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

The House of Sand  »

Box Office

Budget:

BRL 8,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Waddington wrote the two lead roles especially for his wife Ms. Torres and his mother-in-law, Ms. Montenegro. See more »

Goofs

The movie takes pains to make reference to real events. However, the location marker erected for the scientific party at the total solar eclipse shows the wrong date. It should be 29.05.1919. See more »

Soundtracks

Prelude Opus 28, nº 15
by Frédéric Chopin
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User Reviews

A masterpiece of dreams and passions unwillingly inherited
17 August 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I kept the postcard. I had narrowly missed this film when I was in Brasil, where it went on to run for 14 consecutive weeks. They had those little free postcards they use to advertise just about anything these days. The House of Sand postcards were particularly beautiful, so I took them home and kept them.

More than a year later, the postcards are in a dusty folder somewhere, but the image remains in my mind, and leapt out at me when I saw the film advertised in the 2006 Edinburgh International Film Festival. It's one of those exquisite photos, rivalling even The English Patient, and conveys stark beautiful lighting, a woman, and white desert dunes. Worth seeing for the cinematography alone surely, but it turns out to be one of those gems that every festival-goer prays for.

On the shimmering sandy plains of northern Maranhão, three generations of women live dreams and passions unwillingly inherited, experiencing profound depths of despair and fulfilment. Opening scenes of sweeping white sand dunes focus in to the wind and weather torn faces of a small stream of people, battling forward. Áurea has come to this wilderness at the will of her husband, who has some title deeds near a lagoon. Twists of fate soon leave her isolated in this desolate place with only her mother, Dona Maria, and pregnant. At first desperate to find a way out, Áurea gradually comes to realise she belongs here.

The scenery (shot in beautiful 2K widescreen) brings together the ferocity of nature and the elements, reflected in the passion of the leading character, her indomitable spirit, and her adaptability. Bringing together some of the finest talent in Brasil, House of Sand works on a visual and dramatic level that is heightened by an artistry that is almost metaphysical. In the wilderness, a person's relationship with themselves becomes different, as happens with Áurea. There is just you - no emergency services to fall back on. The senses are turned in on themselves and the workings of the 'real world' become less important. In the film, a long period of time is marked by various events, either astronomical (the solar eclipse photographed by scientists in Brasil in 1919 that led to the proof of Einstein's theory of relativity), or completely external (a war, and later the landing of a man on the moon) to the real world lived in by these women over a period of 60 years. The desert is the nothingness, the shifting sands to which all return. The relativity within their lives forms an ongoing story that moves from the woman to her daughter. This continuity is reflected symbolically by both lead actresses playing different women at different periods of those characters' lives - although the make-up is sufficient to maintain a straightforward, linear story (although as well as being two of the most renowned actresses in Brasil, they also happen to be real life mother and daughter).

Dialogue and background music are both pared down to enhance the images and scenes. Said scriptwriter Elena Soáres, "Dialogue is something dangerous because it is almost the opposite of cinema. One can fall into a trap. One tends to resolve everything through dialogue but cinema works with another peculiarity. It resolves itself with the image." Similarly music is an important theme, the thing that Áurea most misses, so is not added in the usual overt way just as background.

For Áurea, the wilderness she lives in, its nothingness, is the absence of all that is desired. Sand that even (at one point) covers her physical house. But, like the men who went to the moon - all that was there was nothing - in that search was found something that no physical prize could equate. House of Sand is one of those timeless masterpieces that occurs very infrequently. It is the jewel that makes worthwhile wading through an endless smorgasbord of lesser films to find.


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