House of Sand

In 1910 a fanatical Brazilian settler drags his pregnant wife (Fernanda Torres) and her mother (Fernanda Montenegro) to his new patch of land, a sandy spot in northerly Maranhao, and despite the wife's serious misgivings, she remains there for six decades. This pretentious 2005 art movie is somewhat interesting for its wide-screen photography of the striking locale, but the storytelling is awkward and confusing. Director Andrucha Waddington cast his own wife and mother-in-law in the leads, and his decision to give Torres a second role as the wife's daughter proves disastrous, making both characters seem more stereotypical. Only samba star Seu Jorge (The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou), as a descendant of a runaway slave, manages to escape the allegorical typecasting. In Portuguese with subtitles. R, 104 min.

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