Site Meter

Friday, February 02, 2007

house of sand

Tonight I watched House of Sand, a 2005 film from Brazil. I was reminded of the Japanese film Woman in the Dunes. Both films involve being forced to live in an inhospitable environment involving sand dunes. Both have erotic elements. But you don't get as wrapped up in the desolation in House of Sand. Some aspects seem unpolished. The transitions occur silently, and I wanted to put a sound effect in there, a giant "chunk, chunk, chunk" to represent the passage of time. But in the end, the result is a different emphasis than you expect. There is little room for nostalgia and not a lot of dwelling on psychological character development. This was a relief in a way, because the actors and writer does a lot of the work here. You are not asked to follow every twist and turn, to remember each line in the way that some films set up a sort of reward system where your diligence is paid off by returning to each such set-up at a later time. Characters do return and themes develop, but in an understated way, as if life is allowed to be so much bigger than the little glimpse you are given.

Physics and life merge together in an interesting way in this film. The date is early 1900's and the main character has an interaction with the team of scientists observing the solar eclipse which was supposed to test Einstein's general relativity. But this story reveals itself in the background. We don't hear from the scientists themselves, but from the man who is acting as their guide. Relativity is seen as a glittering representative from the outside world almost on par with music.

No comments: