House of Sand and Fog

House of Sand and Fog Poster

I joined the Cheltenham Film Society a couple of weeks back. I went along with some friends of mine and was surprised to meet a few other people I knew there, including my aunt and uncle Helen and Stephen. Its a small world isn’t it?

Anyway, tonight’s film was House of Sand and Fog, starring Jennifer Connelly (who always surprises me by actually being a good actress) and Ben Kingsley.

It was very clever, in that throughout the film, you never quite decide where your sympathies lie. A large part of me wanted Behrani [Kingsley] and his family to win out, yet I didn’t want Kathy [Connelly] to lose out at all (even if she did bring her downfall upon herself somewhat). The only person that you really end up disliking is Lester [Ron Eldard], who starts out as the friendly policeman but ends up being a bit of a psycho nut job.

Its a fantastic film, but its really not the most light-hearted in the world. In fact it verges on being downright depressing. I got to the end and thought “What the hell is she going to do with her life now?”

Myself and Ben [not Kingsley] were discussing it on the way home — is it even possible to make a really good happy film? Its just that the really good films always seem to be gritty, intense psychological dramas (or that seems to be the way at this film society). Is it even possible to portray shiny happy intense gritty realism?