Credit: The House of Sand: Vantoen Pereira Jr.

As the camera offers a God’s-eye view of layered white sand, you realize that you’re in for two hours of desert-as-allegory. It’s 1910, and Áurea (Fernanda Torres), along with her mother (Fernanda Montenegro), has been dragged to the oblivion of northern Brazil by her crazy husband. The women are stranded — for years that stretch into decades. The House of Sand‘s director, Andrucha Waddington, lays on the Awesome Visual Poetry and throws in a welter of story gimmicks (the actresses leap roles as they age), but it’s all a bit too fancifully arid.