The House of Sand

Director: Andrucha Waddington
Screenwriters: Elena So‡rez

Institute History


Andrucha Waddington returns to Sundance (Me, You, Them played in the 2001 Festival) with The House of Sand, a magnificent epic drama about the lives and passions of three generations of Brazilian women struggling to find their place amidst an encroaching desert and the relentless march of time.

Aurea's saga begins in 1910 when she and her mother, Maria (Fernanda Montenegro), arrive in a caravan at a labyrinth of sand in Maranhão in northern Brazil. Her insane father, Vasco, plans to start a farm. Aurea (Fernanda Torres) is desperate to return to the city, but she cannot traverse the dunes alone with her aging mother and unborn child. Then calamity strikes, and the two women are left on their own. They eventually become accustomed to life among the swelling and shifting dunes, and Aurea bears a daughter in the house of sand. Years go by, and Aurea (now played by Montenegro) has found peace in the desert, while her promiscuous daughter Maria (played by Torres) has inherited her mother's lust for the world beyond the dunes.

Desiccated desert textures permeate the senses as marvelous performances from Montenegro and Torres place human intensity at center stage. The House of Sand is a profound portrait of passing generations and establishes Waddington as one of the most exciting directors in Brazil today.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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