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HOUSE OF SAND aka LA CASA DE AREIA
USA: Sony Pictures Classics
Cast: Fernanda Montenegro, Fernanda Torres, Ruy Guerra, Seu Jorge, Luiz Melodia, Enrique Diaz, Stênio Garcia, Emiliano Queiroz, JoAo Acaiabe, Camilla Facundes, Haroldo Costa, Jorge Mautner, Nelson Jacobina
Director: Andrucha Waddington
Language: Portuguese (English subtitles)
USA: 103 mins
USA Rated: R for some graphic sexuality
USA Release Date: 11 August 2006 (Limited Release)
aurea´s saga starts in 1910, when, in pursuing a dream she never shared, she arrives in a caravan at a labyrinth of sand in MaranhAo, northern Brazil. Her husband, Vasco, believes this land to be prosperous and she is condemned to a life in this barren place, her only female company being her mother, Dona Maria. Pregnant and dissatisfied with her destiny, she tries everything to find a way out.
She spends 59 years living with an imminent departure. At first aurea is hindered by Vasco and is forced to live in a house on the top of a dune, until one day, alongside her mother, she witnesses the death of her husband, buried by his own insanity. With a mixture of both pain and relief, she believes herself to be free. But the truth is, her fate is in the hands of destiny.
Abandoned in the desert with her daughter, Dona Maria goes in search of a small settlement originally founded by runaway slaves. Here she meets Massu, who becomes an important companion for the two women. It is he who teaches them how to trade belongings for food. And salt, brought from afar by Chico, the only man able to come and go as he pleases, and whom aurea clings to in the hope of leaving after she gives birth.
A girl is born, also called Maria. Nine years pass and Dona Maria is the first to realize that there is some sense to that place. But aurea remains stubborn, only waiting for her daughter to grow up in order to face the journey. The possibility of realizing her greatest wish comes to life again with the return of the salt salesman. Just as everything seems set, Massu surprises them all by hindering their departure.
Desperate, aurea runs across the sandy plains after Chico. Instead of finding him, she encounters Lieutenant Luiz, a young guide leading a group of scientists researching of the total solar eclipse in the region. In an emotional passage she is able to rescue her feelings, rediscover sex and is given a chance to restart her life. However, once again, circumstances beyond her will force aurea to remain on the sandy plains. Alongside Massu, she discovers that she does belong here, after all.