If anything, the title of House of Sand (2005) is an understatement. This lovely film, directed by Andrucha Waddington (Me You Them), takes place in a corner of northern Brazil that is a veritable universe of dry, swirling white dust. Like the main characters — three women of successive generations exiled from a softer, more accommodating life in the city — you grow accustomed to this landscape after a while, and come to appreciate its beauty. But at first it seems about as hospitable as the surface of Mars: gritty, windy, almost actively hostile to human habitation. [Read more…]
The beggar on the New York subway has a body truncated at the waist and he rolls on a cart, chanting “I have no legs!” in a singsong as he passes. Just for a moment, he attracts the notice of Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick) and Casper (Justin Pierce), who look young and healthy but are actually much more damaged than this legless man.
As Larry Clark’s Kids (1995) so harrowingly demonstrates, these two are part of a spiritually dead teen-age culture built on aimlessness, casual cruelty and empty pleasure. Mr. Clark’s vision of these characters is so bleak and legitimately shocking that it makes almost any other portrait of American adolescence look like the picture of Dorian Gray.