House of Sand and Fog 2003 CD1
[police radio chatter]
[man] Are you Kathy Nicolo?
ls this your house?
[woman, children laughing]
[man] Nadi, of course, agreed that it was a wonderful idea
to cut down the trees at our home on the Caspian,
to have the sea spread before us,
to reach infinity with our eyes,
to see forever.
But then, our life went the way of the trees
when the Ayatollahs ripped the soul out of our beautiful country.
Today is not a day for the old.
lt is a day for the young.
To the future. To our Soraya.
May she be a happy wife as she is a bride.
she will not forget her poor mother and father so soon
and return to us and give to us many little grandbabies.
A father can dream.
[all speaking Farsi]
[# soft dance music]
[# man singing in Farsi]
He's so tan.
- Retirement has been good to the colonel. - He's not. He works for Boeing.
He doesn't work for Boeing. My son works for Boeing.
Who knows what he does now?
[# music continues]
# I love you
[# up-tempo dance music]
[man] Es todo. Terminamos.
- Hello. - [woman] Kathy?
- What time is it? - It's, um, 9:00.
- Mom, it's 6:00 a.m. here. - I don't think 6:00 a.m. will kill you.
Your father got up at 4:30 every day of his life,
God bless his soul.
So, how's it going? How's the program?
Fine. l'm fine.
One day at a time, right?
I just hope it's working.
How's everyone there?
Frankie's good. Salesman of the month again.
You know your brother.
His Lisa's in her seventh month.
How's your better half?
He's right here. He's sleeping.
Mom, l'm really tired. l'm gonna go, okay?
Listen. I almost forgot. Your Aunt Frances won a trip to Reno.
We're gonna come out on the 18th. I thought we'd stop by.
Yeah. Two weeks.
Um, Nick's gonna be away on business, though.
- Again? - Yeah.
- Wow. - l'm gonna go, okay, Mom?
- You're still not smoking, right? - Bye.
'Cause they say it's a slippery...
- Just a second! - [banging continues]
You Kathy Lazaro?
Due to the nonpayment of business taxes associated with this property,
the county has petitioned the court on its behalf to reclaim these costs.
lt should come as no surprise to you. l'm sure you've had ample warning.
We've sent many notices.
Now the house is up for auction tomorrow morning.
Auction? What are you talking about?
Are you out of your mind?
There's no smoking in my house.
[laughing] 'Cause l see your number right here.
Yeah. We gonna meet down there?
Supposed to be a hot one today. l'd dress lightly if l were you.
- [man laughing] - lt's okay, 'cause l'm not leaving.
l'm afraid you have no choice, Mrs. Lazaro.
All of your things will be auctioned off with the property.
Do you want that?
Look, you can't evict me.
l never owed a fucking business tax. lt doesn't make sense.
Okay, well, this is where l get off.
Deputy Sheriff Burdon will assist you in vacating the property.
Do you have a lawyer?
l can't afford a lawyer. l'm a house cleaner.
Here's the number for the legal assistance office.
They may be able to help. Nothing's written in blood.
You just have to clear out today. You might be moving back in next week.
ln the meantime, maybe you can call some friends or family.
Stay with them.
There's no one to call.
l'll tell you what.
l know some movers that owe me a favor.
Go down to Safeway and get some boxes.
Let's help this lady pack up.
May l help you?
My car is parked here.
You asked yesterday also.
[both speak Farsi]
Oh, oh, what happened to you?
- Again? - Yeah.
Wash up. Do not get blood on the floor.
The house was repossessed for tax payment delinquency.
lt's got three bedrooms, one bath.
A widow's walk would increase property value.
What is this "widow's walk"?
A deck on top of the house so you can see the ocean.
We still got time here. Feel free to look around.
Today God has kissed our eyes.
Do you remember our bungalow on the Caspian,
how l ordered the trees cut down on the west side
so we may view the sea?
Please, be quiet.
Do you remember how the general brought his family there for New Year,
how beautiful it was?
What is the matter for you today, Behrani?
l today have bought for us another bungalow.
l purchased this home for a price no one would believe.
lt is worth two, maybe three times that.
We will live in this home for a short while
and then sell it and find one even better.
[# music in Farsi]
[# music continues]
Perhaps you did not come here to live like a gypsy.
But l did not come here to work like an Arab...
to be treated like an Arab.
For four years we have lived a life we could not afford
and spent almost everything to marry Soraya with a good family.
This apartment alone has cost us over $140,000 in rent.
And what of Esmail's university education?
Soon we will have nothing.
And then you will see what it is like to walk in the shoes of the gypsies.
tomorrow, you will begin packing, and there's no more to discuss.
Do not open your lips.
$500? They evicted you from your house for that?
You got it.
Um, are you staying with friends?
Yeah, l'm with a friend.
- How much is this gonna cost me? - lt's on a sliding scale.
Um, how come you didn't do something about this earlier?
l went to the courthouse, months ago,
and l signed a statement saying that l never owed a business tax
because l never owned a business.
l even had it certified.
And what about the follow-up mail?
l didn't open it.
lt's very important to me that l get my house back by the 18th.
l'm expecting company.
- When did you sign that letter? - l don't know.
Well, l hate to be the bearer of bad news,
but the county's already sold your house.
- No. They can't do that. - The auction date's been set for months.
Don't worry. They'll rescind the sale, or we'll file a lawsuit against the county.
- We'll get your house back. - Before the 18th, right?
[# music video]
- Sorry. - Shit.
- l didn't mean to scare you. - Don't do that.
You all right?
Yeah. l'm fine. You?
You working undercover or something?
No. l'm off.
l just... l drive by this way, and, uh...
figured l'd check in on you, see how you're holding up.
They already sold your house?
Technically, it's mine and my brother's.
My dad left it to us when he died.
l haven't told my family.
My lawyer's trying to get them to rescind it.
So l'm trying not to harp on the negative.
You have any kids, Mr. Burdon?
Call me Lester.
My husband left me eight months ago.
No one knows that, either.
Do you mind if l give you some professional advice?
Do it all through your lawyer, Kathy.
l wouldn't drive past that house till the keys were back in my hand.
Thanks for checking in on me.
Hey, Kathy, wait.
Listen. This is my direct number at the department.
Most of the time, l'm on patrol.
But if you ever need anything, anything at all, just leave a message.
- See ya. - Good night.
lt is like our garden in lsfahan.
[speaking in Farsi]
[gasps, sighs] Yeah?
[woman] Your credit card didn't go through. That's two days now.
God, l'm really sorry about that.
Look, um, l'm gonna get my paycheck on Friday.
ls there any way we can let it slide until then?
[engine starts, runs]
[car door closes]
The only affordable way to put a terrace up there
is to put the stairs on the outside.
lt'll have to block that kitchen window.
l could do that for about a grand.
l could do that for about a grand.
lf we have to go through the roof, about $4,000 to $ 7,000.
- But this window must be obstructed? - l don't see any other way.
That is acceptable.
Can you start today?
[dog barking, sawing]
- Hey! - [sawing]
- What are you doing? - Excuse me?
What the fuck are you doing? This is my house.
Who are you?
This is my house. Who said you could do this?
- Are you Mrs. Behrani? - No.
Mr. Behrani hired us. You're gonna have to talk to him.
- Whoa, lady. - Shit.
Stay right there. Don't move.
[man] Ah! Oh, man.
- Let's get her inside. - Fuck.
Could we use your bathroom? She stepped on...
Sorry, ma'am. Could we use your washroom to clean her foot?
- Okay. - lt is okay.
For one moment, please.
l got it.
- Here you go. - Thanks.
Have you had a tetanus shot lately?
l'm gonna be sick.
ls she bleeding? Excuse me.
- Esmail, a bandage. - Okay.
l don't want to ruin your towel.
[Esmail] Here. l use this for skateboarding.
Don't worry. l washed it.
This is, of course, our family pictures.
l think l should go.
l'll tell you what happened. My yard is a construction site.
- You were there? - Yeah, l was there. l was at my house.
l stepped on some nails.
l was bleeding on my own doorstep, waiting for a stranger to open my door.
You can't just go over there. You've got to let us handle this.
l want them out of my house.
They're already more at home there than l ever was.
Did you get their name?
Behmini, something like that. They're Middle Eastern.
- Gary? - Yes, Connie?
Will you type a letter to the courier service
and make sure that it gets to a Mr. Behrmini?
lt's damn hard to sell a house nowadays. This is what you call a real buyer's market.
Well, sorry, but she comes in at...
- You're late, Behrani. - l am not late.
l have come to tell you that l'm no longer to return to this job.
You tell the office, Colonel?
So why tell me, man?
ls this you?
"...inform you... that under these circumstances...
"currently owe, or as a property...
"we request that you vacate the property immediately."
Mother whores! Goddamn it!
Mr. Barmeeny is here.
Oh, Mr. Barmeeny.
My name is Behrani.
Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani.
l wish to speak with Mr. Walsh, please.
l'm Connie Walsh. This is my office, Colonel.
Please come in.
l'm sure our letter came as a shock to you, Colonel.
The situation is this: Pacific County has made a number of mistakes.
First, they levied a tax on my client which she did not owe.
Second, they evicted her for nonpayment. And third, they auctioned the property.
- Unfortunately, this is where you come in. - But l now own the house.
l paid for it in cash. l have a bill of sale. Here, please.
Would you sell the county back the house?
They would make it as comfortable a transaction as possible.
Please listen to me very carefully. The only comfortable transaction possible
is if the county tax office paid to me $174,000.
Mr. Behrani, you only paid a quarter of that amount.
The market can already pay me this. Good morning, Miss Walsh.
From a legal standpoint, you are in the right.
But the true owner of this house is living in a motel, Mr. Behrani.
All her belongings are locked in storage.
Why should she wait to get back into her home that was wrongfully taken?
Just because you want to turn a profit.
Things are not as they appear.
lt is a matter of necessity for me and my family.
l'm sorry. l do not have a choice in this matter.
This is a surprise.
Good one or a bad one?
lt's good. lt's good.
What happened to your foot?
Oh, l, um...
l stopped by my house, and they were doing construction on the roof.
l stepped on some nails.
Thanks for letting me ride along today, Mr. Burdon.
So, how's the El Rancho?
l'm not there anymore.
l'm staying at the Bonneville now.
l don't know it.
You're looking at it.
l haven't had a drink in three years, Lester.
Oh, l'm sorry. l... l should have asked. l didn't know.
No, it's okay.
The fog's coming in.
[man over walkie-talkie, indistinct]
l'd like to ask you a personal question, if l could.
Just get it over with.
Why is your husband no longer with you?
l wanted kids.
He didn't want kids.
But l guess if he really wanted me, he would have wanted them, too.
l think he's a fool.
Maybe we should find you a place to stay.
Do you remember the beauty of the Caspian Sea, Esmail?
The water like glass.
The beach sand like gold.
[Nadi] lt is beautiful here.
Massoud, when must we move again?
Not too soon.
Perhaps once we get a buyer, we will tell them to wait until autumn.
Would you prefer that?
l will do as you wish.
There was this little runt of a guy.
Kept beating up his wife. Except she wouldn't press charges.
We'd show up, and there they'd be at the door
like Romeo and Juliet, arm in arm.
She had welts and bruises all over.
So, one night we get called out there again,
and l slipped down their hallway and stuffed two eight-balls in his closet.
Turns out he was on parole.
He goes back to jail, she's safe, and l slept like a baby.
Did l just lose you?
l'm sorry. l, um...
To tell you the truth, l think the wine's distracting me.
- l'll send it back. - No, it's fine.
- You sure? - Yeah.
See, when l think of my sobriety, l don't think about wine.
Alcohol was never a problem.
Well, you're a grown woman.
[# Nadi singing in Farsi]
- What are your kids' names? - Nate and Bethany.
Nate is four. Bethany is nine.
- Where is your house? - ln Millbrae.
ln a housing development called Palomino Meadows.
You have to drive through it to get to the mall.
Yeah, l know where that is.
God, l've probably driven by it a dozen times.
l've probably even seen your wife.
- Carol. - Yeah. Carol.
- What's your situation, Les? - l married my best friend.
And for seven of the last nine years,
l haven't wanted to give her more than a hug or a peck on the cheek.
That's my situation.
- What about her? - lt's not the same for her.
Do you want to come inside?
We are blessed.
- What time is it? - lt's 10:00.
l should have been home hours ago.
l'm sure Carol called the department.
l'm sure they asked her if l was feeling any better.
Things are finally in motion.
l'm finally gonna get it over with.
Telling her the truth about how l feel.
How do you feel?
l feel found.
Well, Kathy, bad news.
The county's done their part, but the new owner won't go along.
He's asking for four times what he bought it for.
We can sue the county, but it'll take months.
Do you mean that...
l can't legally get my house back?
lt would've been a lot easier if you'd just opened your mail.
You can't expect the law to work miracles.
l don't expect miracles. l expect you to do your fucking job.
l don't know what l'm doing sitting here talking to you.
And as you see, very excellent rooms.
lt is cool inside, even during the day.
And from the widow's walk, sunsets are quite beautiful.
There is very little fog in this area.
- When would the house be available? - Not until autumn.
- We would need time to find a new home. - That might work for us.
[Esmail speaking Farsi]
Yes. She has come for a tool her boyfriend carpenter may have left behind.
l have been expecting her. One moment, please.
l am happy you came. Please, this way. l will show you.
My family knows nothing of this. l'd like for it to remain so.
You have me confused with someone else.
l'm quite certain l know who you are.
l'm Kathy Nicolo.
l know my lawyer talked to you, Mr. Bahrooni,
- but l thought we could meet face-to-face. - My name is Behrani. Colonel Behrani.
Colonel Behrani, l'm sorry.
My father left this house to me and my brother.
Tell this to the bureaucrats at the County Tax Office.
They have made a mistake, not l.
They said they'd give you your money back. You've put that deck on.
l'm sure they'd repay you for that.
l'm sorry, but l've nothing more to say.
Why should l be penalized for their incompetence?
You should sue them for enough to buy ten homes.
l'll even sell you this house for the right price. That's all l require.
l don't know where he left his hammers. l've nothing more to say.
Let go of me.
You can't expect to just move in here and make money off of this.
This is my house.
l lived here, and you stole this house from me,
you son of a bitch!
This is a stolen house!
He's trying to sell you a stolen house!
What'd you tell your kids?
l told them the truth.
My old man walked out on us. l swore l would never do that to my own.
My lawyer couldn't get the house back.
So l went to see the owner.
- And he put his hand on you? - lt's okay. Don't worry about it.
That's not right.
He's got no right to do that.
Who is this guy?
His name's Behrani. He's a colonel.
Behrani? What country is he from?
l don't know. But his wife hardly speaks any English.
Maybe they haven't been here that long. Maybe they don't know their way around.
- What are you doing? - l'm gonna pay 'em a visit.
Officers tend to listen to other officers. lt's worth a shot.
What if he doesn't listen?
Then l'll make him listen.
Little bird! Little bird!
Welcome to our new home.
- Does it go down the hill? - lt is an investment property, Soraya.
Like our second home on the Caspian.
lt's an investment home.
[Nadi] Let us go to the roof porch, for the view.
[Lester] Jesus, look at them.
What are they celebrating, stealing a woman's house?
Fuck these people.
You're a very wise man, Genob Sarhang,
to live in such a place that gives you a view of God's wonders.
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