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

R  |   |  Drama  |  13 May 2005 (Brazil)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,540 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
Ruy Guerra ...
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

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
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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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Staggeringly Beautiful Cinematic Epic
17 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

CASA DE AREIA ('HOUSE OF SAND) is a masterpiece of film-making from Brazil. Written by Elena Soarez and Luis Carlos Barreto the story seems more a magical metaphor than a tale of real life - until the film concludes and the immediacy and universality of the messages haunt the viewer's mind for hours. It is a film directed by Andrucha Waddington with a cast of superb actors but the focus of the film, the films central character, is the bleak isolation of the sweeping desert of Northern Brazil.

The film opens in 1910 with a caravan of wind swept characters appearing in the distance of the dunes of the desert, a group of wayfarers apparently escaping the poverty of the bog city to find a home of their own, land that can be called something that belongs to them. They are led by Vasco de Sá (Ruy Guerra) and his wife Áurea (Fernanda Torres) and her mother Dona Maria (Fernanda Montenegro), both of whom plead with Vasco to let them return to the poverty of the city instead of being forced to attempt to exist in the sands of the windy desert. Vasco is determined, builds a house, forces the women to live there and the others to pitch tents to exist. Áurea becomes pregnant, Vasco is confronted by the real owners of the land led by Massu (Seu Jorge), and must trade his possessions to remain in his 'home', a home which crashes around him leaving Vasco dead and Áurea and Dona Maria to fend for themselves. The others desert the two women and the women find their only help in Massu.

Time passes slowly (to 1919) and the changing sands begin to bury the house. Áurea, now a mother of a daughter Maria (Camilla Facundes), finds a telescope and sets out to see if she can find its owner and a way out of the desert. She encounters a group of scientists photographing the solar eclipse, a group protected by Luiz (Enrique Díaz) who bonds with Áurea, has a night affair with her, and then promises to take Áurea, her old mother Dona Maria, and her young daughter Maria to the city. Áurea sets out for her house only to find it now covered with a dune, her mother dead and her daughter Maria traumatized: the chance for escape is gone.

We move to 1942 and daughter Maria is now a woman (played by Fernanda Montenegro) who has bonded with Massu (now played by Luiz Melodia) and her sensual daughter Maria (played by Fernanda Torres) are still waiting for the return of Luiz. The older Luiz (Stênio Garcia) returns and Maria seduces him, even though Luiz knows she is his old lover's daughter. He returns to the house, meets the 'Áurea/Maria' he loved and ultimately agrees to take the younger Maria to the city: the older Maria elects to stay with Massu. Again time leaps to 1970 and the younger Maria in hippie outfit drives out to see her mother (both Marias are now played by Fernanda Montenegro) and the reunion of hopes and dreams of over 60 years are realized in a manner that brings the film to a haunting conclusion.

The cast is extraordinarily fine, blending into the movement of nature and symbolizing the elements of love, longing, loneliness, destiny, and survival. The repeated use of the two major actresses is a stroke of genius: we are caught up in the intuitive understanding of all the manifestations of these two women over time as they change roles not only as actresses but also as blending characters.

In a fine touch of genius, the films credits are rolled as Brazilian pianist Nelson Friere plays the Chopin 'Raindrop Prelude'. It is a moving ending to a magnificent film. Highly recommended. In Portuguese with English subtitles. Grady Harp


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