House of Sand and Fog
Some dreams can't be shared.
It’s rare to find a film that doesn’t take sides. Conflict is said to be the basis of popular fiction, and yet here is a film that seizes us with its first scene and never lets go, and we feel sympathy all the way through for everyone in it. They sometimes do bad things, but the movie understands them and their flaws. House of Sand and Fog sees into the hearts of its characters, and loves and pities them.
The story is simply told. Kathy (Connelly), a recovering alcoholic, has been living alone since her husband walked out on her eight months ago. She’s fallen behind with the taxes for her modest home that has a view of the California shore. She neglects warnings from the county, the house is put up for auction, and it is purchased by Massoud (Kingsley), an Iranian immigrant who was a colonel in the Shah’s air force but now works two jobs to support his family, and dreams that this house is the first step in rebuilding the lives of his wife and son.
Into the lives of these two people comes a third, Lester Burdon (Eldard), the deputy sheriff who evicts Kathy but is touched by her grief, then stirred by her beauty. If we are keeping score, then it’s his fault for what eventually happens. It is fair enough to fight for your home and family, but not fair to misuse your uniform - not even if your excuse is love.
To admire a story you must be willing to listen to the people and observe them, and at the end of House of Sand and Fog, we have seen good people with good intentions who have their lives destroyed because they had the bad luck to come across a weak person with shabby desires. And finally there is a kind of love and loyalty, however strange to us, that reveals itself in Massoud’s marriage, and must be respected.
It’s rare for a film to generate such strong conflicting emotions as this one does, and the actors’ talents are largely responsible. You will come away in awe; well worth a trip to the cinema.
Screenings of this film:
|2003/2004 Summer Term – (35mm)|