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House of Sand and Fog in our magazines

THE MOVIE: House of Sand and Fog

Sir Ben Kingsley • Jennifer Connelly
DIRECTOR: Vadim Perelman

House of Sand and Fog THE CONCEPT:
Heartbreaking drama of the American dream gone wrong, when two people driven by desperation, claim ownership of the same small house in northern California … Kathy Nicolo (Connelly), a recovering addict, who loses the house through a bureaucratic error, and Massould Amir Behrani (Kingsley), an Iranian colonel, reduced to working in menial jobs, who uses his life savings to buy the property.

U.S. RELEASE: December 26 2003, Nationwide
• Rated: R


“Behrani is a man who keeps the love and support of his family intact, and has to leave his home in Iran. And there’s Kathy, who has to keep the fabric of her home intact, that has absolutely no family support whatsoever. There’s a perfect balance here, it’s almost like a mathematical equation.”

“To me, both characters are in similar dilemmas, which is that neither fits the role of the classic American hero, neither is the fairy tale American citizen. They both are on the fringes of society and I think they both are suffering from intolerance because of that.”

“I knew I needed to tell this story. It’s a story about loneliness and being cast out … about being an immigrant in a new country and, with regard to Kathy, about feeling like an immigrant in your own country. Those are themes that are primal and universal. Who could not relate to some aspect of that?”

“My first thoughts about the character, was that he was a warrior. How wonderful to play a warrior. All my classic roots in Shakespeare were energized and excited by playing a warrior who’s losing everything.”

CONNELLY on doing a movie that is so emotional:
“When I get depressed, it’s because I’m working on something I’m not happy with. This, I was really happy doing the scenes every day. I don’t think my life would allow me to take the emotion home at night at this point. When I was doing the movie I had a six-year old, who I would want to play with, and a husband (actor Paul Bettany) who would make fun of me if I was taking myself too seriously.”

“I think this is a challenging film, but challenging in a sense that I think it respects the audience as adults and filmgoers.”

“I never judged Behrani. Between action and cut, I stayed in the moment. I think the contradictions, like in Shakespeare and Greek tragedy, make the character larger, not smaller. I found that Vadim has such a mature, intelligent grasp and, at the same time, was able to be completely surprised, able to say, ‘I never heard that line like that,’ or, ‘I never saw that moment like that before,’ That’s a great gift to actors.”

“When I’m watching the movie, I can’t imagine anyone who could have done his role better than Sir Ben. I think he’s magnificent in everything I’ve seen him in, and so I was really excited to work with him. And I was not let down in any way, he’s one of those people that you have respect for, that you’ve seen in movies, and then you work with him and have all the more respect for him.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Dream Works
Feature © 2003 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #638, December 2003 cover

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