How I wish I had stuck to my resolution to avoid watching Hollywood films and stick to my own mystery murder serials! Instead, I endured two hours and six minutes of pure agony last night: I am, of course, referring to the horrible horrible “The House of Sand and Fog”. No immigrant dreaming of a brighter future in a faraway land should watch this film.

Not being deaf and blind, I had of course heard of the film back in Iran, when the nomination of Shohreh Aghdashloo through everyone into a tizzy. I didn’t even know who the lead actors were, or what the plot was about. When I stumbled across the DVD, my curiosity was mildly piqued- and I liked both Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connolley, so I took it.

Being Iranian, I naturally rooted for the Iranian colonel, and watched with pain as his attempts to rebuild the life of his family in exile fall to horrible bits. Yet, I am of the social background who are naturally antipathetic to the colonel and ilk- we do not think much of high-ranking monarchic military officers, who would be excluded from international protection through any decent non-American refugee status determination system. It is almost impossible to think his hands were not stained with blood. And yet, and yet.

As for the woman, Jennifer Connolley was a bad choice- her face is too strong and sensitive to play that part, and she looked too much like her enemy Iranians (albeit with a nose job)- she should have been played by a white-trash grimy blonde such as Melanie Griffith or Sandra Bullock in a blonde wig. Anyway, how realistic was the whole plot? Is it really so easy to evict and resell someone`s property for a 500 dollar debt?  

Thinking about it the next day, I felt almost angry that the immigration issue and culture thing had been thrown in the mixture: it could have been about any family man out to make a buck in buying cheap real estate, renovating and selling high. The Iranian refugee  theme could be seen as wholly unneccessary.

What`s more, Iranians have a horror of buying seized or `ghasbi` land- land which the previous owner was not one hundred percent satisfied in the deal. When someone wants to buy a house in Iran, there is some effort put into verifying the land is not `seized` or ghasbi.  A `real` Iranian family would have moved out of the house as soon as it became obvious the land was seized- the fact that they didn`t shows they were evil monsters who deserved their horrible fates – only except of course they weren`t. They were really Americans, who have a world-wide reputation for doing this sort of thing, seizing land and casual dispossession,  pretending to be Iranians.

Last year a rumour started circulating around Tehran that a populous middle-class neighbourhood not too far from city centre (Gisha) was in fact seized and `ghasbi`. The value of all the properties in that area fell substantially, although there were counter-rumours that the original rumour was just a conspiracy to tinker with the land prices and push the prices of neighbouring areas higher.

In short, I didn`t like the film; I found the characters and plotline manipulative and unbelievable, and as an immigrant with dreams of my own, dreadfully despressing.



  1. apparently that rumer became applicable about other parts of Tehran in at least last 6 months. The prices is coming down and there is rare activity in real estates. Almost everybody has stopped buying a new property in all locations in Tehran. It seems people has concluded everywhere is “ghasbi” now! 😉
    just FYI. 🙂

  2. thenewcomer

    that is because we were thinking about selling our house… the moment we change our minds, the prices will go up again, I promise you 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: