Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Sands through the hourglass
My movie outing of the week was the patient Brazilian saga The House of Sand. Filmed in the pale blonde deserts of Brazil, it shares the tale of three women—a grandmother, daughter and granddaughter—stranded in virtual nothingness over a range of 59 years (1910-1969). With only remnants of their provincial life to give them a connection to civilization, from dusty photos to tattered lace tablecloths, they find a way to survive and give the viewer a chance to ponder what it would be like to live a life so pristine, peaceful, lonely and detached from modern man's concerns and pursuits.
About 30 minutes into it, I started to wonder if I'd made a misstep. The plot quietly plods along in unsurprising ways, although the stark setting and the silence are rewards in themselves. Then something shifted, like the ever-changing sand dunes that make up the story's canvas, and the film took me to a deeper emotional level. What it has to say about life, love, time and freedom is ever so poignant. After leaving the theater, I felt enlightened in a way. Within a few hours afterwards, I was struck again by other layers of meaning in the film and its whispered way of conveying them. Some might call it boring. Some might call it pretentious. I call it genius.
The film stars real-life mother and daughter Fernanda Montenegro and Fernanda Torres in dual (or triple) roles. Both are rightfully acclaimed actresses and perfectly cast as women who stare life in the face without blinking. Seu Jorge, the songman throughout The Life Aquatic, is terrific in his stoic role as well. The film was directed by Andrucha Waddington. Writing credits: screenplay by Elena Soarez, story by Luiz Carlos Barreto, Elena Soarez and Andrucha Waddington. Cinematography props go to Ricardo Della Rosa. Bravo to all involved for pulling off this wonder.
Most intriguing preview trailer: A road trip into ennui by two Generation X lads called Old Joy. I say, "Oh, boy!"
Least intriguing preview trailer: From the maker of Funny Haha an even more lo-fi(!) look at Generation Y ennui called Mutual Appreciation. I say, "Oh, puhlease."