By Trita Parsi, NIAC
NIAC hands out free tickets to House of
Sand and Fog - hollywood production about Iranian-American
DC, December 3, 2003 - DreamWorks
new movie for the holiday season, House of Sand and Fog, based on Andre Dubus
III bestselling novel with the same title, is poised to intrigue
Iranian-Americans due to its Iranian-American lead characters, its complex
portrayal of Iranian cultural traits, and it being one of the first Hollywood
productions in which Middle Easterners are depicted as multifaceted individuals
and not one-dimensional shooting targets.
The movie astutely captures the dark side
of the immigrant experience in America, an experience that may be all too
familiar to many Iranian Americans. Massoud Amir Behrani (Ben Kingsley -
Gandhi), a former Royalist colonel in the Iranian military, is living a life
beyond his means, desperately trying to keep up the pretense of the wealth and
power he once enjoyed in pre-revolutionary Iran in order to enhance his
daughter's chances of making a good marriage.
the remainder of his fortune to restore his family's dignity, he buys a small
house at an auction in order to restore it and sell it for four times its
original price. However, what was supposed to be an ingenious business
transaction quickly develops into a trajectory to disaster.
house has been auctioned because of a bureaucratic error, and Behrani's plans
are jeopardized when Kathy Nicolo (Jennifer Connelly - A Beautiful Mind), the
self-destructive and alcoholic owner of the house, begins to protest the
What starts out as a
legal scuffle soon spirals into a personal confrontation, starting a tug of war
between two struggling, proud people, each buoyed by the genuine belief that
they have justice on their side. To both of them, the house represents something
more than just a place to live. To the former Iranian colonel, the beachfront
home is the first step to restoring his family's pre-revolutionary lifestyle. To
Nicolo, the house represents an illusionary safe-haven that helps her veil the
failure that she has become.
Besides being a movie
with an undeniably deep emotional touch and a prime Oscar contender, it is also
one of Hollywood's first refined and sophisticated portrayals of Iranians and
Iranian Americans. Although the trailer of the movie may give the impression
that Colonel Berhani is the "bad guy" - an unreasonable and aggressive man
untouched by human feelings - it belies the movie which leaves the audience with
a deep feeling of sympathy and admiration for the proud and dignified
Although a portrayal
is just that - a subjective portrayal of reality and not reality itself - Dubus
and Perelman's depiction of Iranian-Americans and Iranian culture may be
incomplete, but it is not unrealistic. It is a blend of the positive and
negative that constitutes all cultures, and it is a step in the right direction
for Hollywood; away from its simplistic, Manichean perspective and towards a
polished outlook with a focus on the essence of the individual and not the
misleading emotions of the stereotype.
Actors: Shohreh Aghdashloo, Sir
Ben Kingsley, Jennifer Connelly, Kim Dickens, Ron Eldard
Release Date: December 26th, 2003.
NIAC's mission is to promote Iranian-American participation in civic life. Iranians-Americans deserve to make informed decisions on matters that affect them, and NIAC aims to facilitate this by bringing transparency to these debates. Our intent is to report on policy conferences and pieces of legislation as objectively as possible. NIAC, itself, as an organization, has no position on these debates. Our function is to provide Iranian-Americans with the necessary knowledge and tools to be able to participate in decision-making according to their own views.
The National Iranian American Council is a Washington, DC-based non-profit educational organization promoting Iranian-American participation in American civic and political life. For more information, please visit www.niacouncil.org, email NIAC at email@example.com or send a fax to 202-518-6187. NIAC is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization. All donations to NIAC are tax-deductible.
... Payvand News - 12/3/03 ... --