House of Sand (4 stars)

  • 15 August 2006

This article is from 2006.

Epic (Andrucha Waddington, Brazil, 2005) 115min

Despite the fact that Brazilian filmmaker Waddington (Me, You, Them) handles the time transitions in his new film a little bit clumsily (as it covers the period from 1910 to 1969), this is a stunning piece of elemental cinema: a category of film that’s produced too easily forgotten gems Yol, Dust, Captive of the Desert and Waiting for Happiness. Set in the Brazilian region of Maranhão, as the characters struggle to survive in a remote area far from the cities, this is a world that contains little more than sea, sand and wind. Waddington’s film works best not when the few characters are in conflict with each other (there it becomes a bit ropey), but when the mother, daughter and granddaughter struggle against the elements. There are great moments here that would be merely gestures in a film less alive to the rudiments of nature: like a walk against the wind or trudging through sand. And it’s all ably acted by South American cinema regulars Fernanda Montenegro and Fernanda Torres. (Tony McKibbin)

Cineworld, 623 8030, 19 Aug, 9pm & 22 Aug, 5pm, £7.95 (£5.20).

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