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When Vadim Perelman made House of Sand and Fog , I am sure he was thinking Hebbel: “Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights.”

Kathy (Jennifer Connelly) – a depressive, recovering alcoholic – is evicted from her Southern California home due to a clerical error, and Colonel Behrani (Ben Kingsley) invests all his savings to buy it from the county. To the Behranis, still suffering from delusions of a grand life* in native Iran – the house is the means to a dignified life in America. And thus the conflict begins. Connelly is outstanding as the vulnerable Kathy, and Kingsley turns in yet another stunning performance – subdued, alternating with ease between happiness and anger, confidence and self-doubt, with a taut energy lurking behind his persona all the time. Great movie that barely broke even.

House of Sand and Fog reminded me of “Veedu” (The House) – a Tamil movie by Balu Mahendra that came out in the late nineties. Veedu is the story of an independent working woman and her grandfather, and their dream of owning a house in Madras. Superb pacing and great performances make this one of my all time favorites in Tamil. Better production values, and the movie could have been Oscar material. Needless to say, it tonked.