"Epic and Intimate"
What You Need To Know:
This is a story of survival, hope, fidelity, and love. Gorgeously shot in Brazil, THE HOUSE OF SAND is languid and meditative in all the right ways, in perfectly paced scenes, into the rhythms of desert life, tracing the women’s journey from exile to embrace. The movie’s fatal flaw is a graphic sex scene that should have been avoided, so the movie demands an excessive rating for all ages.
(Pa, B, L, V, SSS, NNN, AA, M) Mixed pagan worldview with some moral elements, including some light Biblical worldview references such as a main character prays under duress and a man quotes from the Bible; two light obscenities (in Portuguese with subtitles), no profanities; a man is rough with his wife and forces her into a house against her will, a man is crushed under falling debris, a gun is fired, but no explicit images of violence; several scenes of implied fornication, one of implied adultery, and one VERY graphic and extended sex scene; full female nudity, rear male nudity; some brief alcohol use, a woman is drunk and goes into a man’s tent implying fornication; no smoking; and, obsession, a woman is very sexually promiscuous, and a woman seduces a married man.
Often in literature, in myth and in the Bible, the desert is the place of challenge, of testing, and of struggle – the landscape of confrontation. It is a place of both metaphorical and physical hostility. THE HOUSE OF SAND is the compelling story of three generations of women lead into the desert for their own time of testing.
Not to be confused with 2003’s THE HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG, THE HOUSE OF SAND is the English title of the Brazilian movie CASA DE AREIA. Gorgeously photographed on the white dunes of Brazil’s stunning Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, THE HOUSE OF SAND is both simple and profound, intimate and epic.
It is 1910 and Áurea finds herself in a virtual wasteland, an expanse of sand as far as she can see. She and her mother, Dona Maria have been forced to come as unwilling participants in her husband’s mad dream to start a new life in the desert. As they struggle desperately to establish a life on the dunes, her husband refuses to give up, even when Áurea tells him she is pregnant.
When her husband is killed by his own obsession, Áurea and Dona Maria attempt to return to civilization but, as if held back by a greater force, their attempts to forsake the desert are continually foiled. They meet Massu, a descendant of a colony of former slaves who helps them survive. Áurea’s daughter Maria is born and a third generation inherits the curse and blessing of life on the sand.
Stretching over almost 60 years, the story’s scope is at once incredibly vast and poignantly focused. In a fresh and inventive casting arrangement all three generations of women are played by the same two gifted actresses Fernanda Montenegro and Fernada Torres. While this takes some getting used to, once we come to understand how the lives of these women are being portrayed, the same actress playing more than one role becomes a powerful motif that reinforces the continuity of this family’s joy and pain.
THE HOUSE OF SAND is languid and meditative in all the right ways, drawing us, in perfectly paced scenes, into the rhythms of desert life, tracing the women’s journey from exile to embrace. It is an elegant movie that resonates with themes of longing, contentment, hope, and love.
The movie’s fatal flaw is a much too graphic sex scene that should have been avoided. Thus, the movie is excessive even for mature viewers. THE HOUSE OF SAND is presented in Portuguese with English subtitles.