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House of Sand (Casa de Areia) (2006)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 69
Fresh: 54 | Rotten: 15

Beautifully filmed with wonderful performances, this Brazilian tale deftly explores the passage of time and prolonged isolation in several decades of a mother and daughter relationship.


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 28
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 4

Beautifully filmed with wonderful performances, this Brazilian tale deftly explores the passage of time and prolonged isolation in several decades of a mother and daughter relationship.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 7,768

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Movie Info

Three generations of women struggle to make lives for themselves and their families in the desert wastes of Northern Brazil in a drama from filmmaker Andrucha Waddington. In 1910, Vasco de Sá (Ruy Guerra) leads his wife, Áurea (Fernanda Torres), and her mother, Dona Maria (Fernanda Montenegro), to their new home -- a ramshackle cabin in Maranhão, a tiny village in the middle of a barren sand dune. Vasco and Áurea's new neighbors are hardly welcoming of the new arrivals, especially Massu (Seu

Dec 12, 2006


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All Critics (71) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (54) | Rotten (15) | DVD (4)

Evocative as it can be, House of Sand doesn't have enough story or incident to justify the investment in time.

September 29, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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Cinematographer Ricardo della Rosa ... has created images of rare beauty in the midst of terrain so spectacularly strange that it sometimes seems to speak a language all its own.

September 22, 2006
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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It is a wondrous place, almost of another planet, and more than compensation for the effort to get there.

September 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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Visually dazzling, epic in its sweep and deeply romantic in its sensibility, The House of Sand is one of those films whose images and ideas linger long after the lights come on, having been burned into the viewer's consciousness.

September 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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A visual work of art and its simple story moves as effortlessly as the sands in a forsaken desert in northern Brazil.

September 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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It ends up like an impressionist painting without a subject, one we stare at longingly, waiting for its purpose to emerge.

September 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
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Disregards the political shifts of Brazil's history by isolating the sprawling narrative from the rest of the nation, so that nothing can distract the director from his finicky composing

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

It all seems as bleak and empty as the desert.

December 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Both characters make gradual evolutions, but don't blame audiences if they're too dazed and dry-mouthed to notice.

November 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

...a part of a classic art-house tradition, that of the starkly beautiful yet chilly movie that haunts the memory without compelling any particular attention.

November 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

House of Sand boasts the hypnotic power of its landscape and a pair of powerful and passionate performances by Montenegro and Torres.

October 28, 2006

A devastating yet beautiful film from Brazil, House of Sand tells an epic story of love and desolation.

October 27, 2006 Full Review Source: Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

At once allegorical and grimly naturalistic -- a contemplation of the sands of time set amid the drifting dunes of Brazil's unforgiving Maranahao desert.

October 13, 2006
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

This beautifully photographed drama feels slow and lethargic.

October 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

The dramatic and often sad lives led by the women yield surprisingly intimate dramas considering such limitless surroundings, a contrast that's played up by the excellent cinematography.

September 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

[Waddington] is bothersomely casual with the time-jumps and never makes their long survival quite believable.

September 15, 2006 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

The thrill of seeing this movie is in the realization that we've seen nothing like it before.

September 14, 2006
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The movie has a power that's as hard to firmly grasp as the stuff on which these women build their home.

September 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Audience Reviews for House of Sand (Casa de Areia)

a hypnotic epic starring the wonderful fernanda montenegro and her real-life daughter, the film follows 3 generations of women for 60 odd years trapped in a magnificent but forbidding desert environment of northern brazil. a meditative experience in some ways reminiscent of teshigahara's woman in the dunes
May 20, 2011
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "House of Sand," it is 1910 and Aurea(Fernanda Torres) is pregnant and married to Vasco(Ruy Guerra), an older man who abuses her and drags her and her mother Maria(Fernanda Montenegro) to a remote area of Brazil where he has purchased land on the edge of the desert where they encounter a colony of escaped slaves, causing much of their party to desert. Aurea is reluctant to stay, saying that she had no idea it was going to be like this. Vasco's cruel treatment of her does not help and indeed causes Maria to contract with one of the ex-slaves to kill Vasco. When that does not work, part of an unfinished house falls on him, simultaneously killing him and possibly proving the existence of a higher power. Left alone, mother and daughter now petition for help from Massu(Seu Jorge) of the slaves' colony.[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"House of Sand" is a beautifully shot contemplation on the nature of life with a unique setting where a moment can feel like eons or a decade can go by in the blink of an eye. Also under consideration is space and how there may be no place remote enough to ever be completely free. In searching for one, a person may end up in a trap worse than anything he was fleeing.[/font]
February 14, 2009
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

I was fascinated by the existence in the desert. It was such an interesting setting for me. Not to say that I didn't enjoy the film itself.
January 30, 2010
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Slow pacing, soapy plot can't hold back solid performances, direction.
December 26, 2006

Super Reviewer

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