Andre Dubus III at the Enzian Theatre

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Dubus (2nd from right) Meets with "Winter with the Writers" Participants

On Wednesday night Mrs. LanceAround and I went to our favorite arthouse movie theatre, the Enzian, to watch the 2003 movie “The House of Sand and Fog” (starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly) and have a Q & A with the author of the novel on which the movie was based–Andre G. Dubus III.  

Andre appeared courtesy of the “Winter with the Writers” program at nearby Rollins College in Winter Park. This prestigious program, featuring some of the greatest writers of all time, is a tradition at Rollins College that dates back to 1927. Currently, the program features four unique and distinguished writers who come to the campus for a couple of days each winter to conduct a Masters class, do a reading and participate in other programs based on their work.  

Best of all, these sessions are free and open to the public!  

It was our luck that Andre Dubus III had a novel that was turned into a movie so we got to listen to a finalist for the National Book Award in 1999 while enjoying a delicious meal and fantastic movie at our favorite arthouse dinner theatre.  

At the end of the movie, Andre explained how the major Iranian character in his novel was based on the father of an Iranian woman he was courting while in college. One day, this woman’s father spoke with him in an elevator. He said that he remembered his country, Iran, before the Shah was removed from power. The father would routinely meet with presidents, kings and heads of state in his own, private office. Now, he had lost his position, his wealth and was working two separate eight hour shifts every day at two menial jobs just to survive. “I never saw this future for myself,” the Iranian father said.  

Those of you familiar with the movie or novel will instantly recognize this central character. Those of you unfamiliar with the story might want to buy the novel or see the movie. It is very touching. Be aware it is also very depressing.  

Andre told the story of how he received 140 calls from agents interested in turning his novel into a movie. Most of them, however, gave some rendition of, “It’s a very ‘adaptable’ story, Andre, and with a little tweaking will make a terrific movie.”  When asked what they would tweak, they uniformly said that the story was depressing and would need a happier ending.  

Vadim Perelman was different. Even though he had never directed a movie, he told Andre that other directors would treat the movie like your baby tied to the radiator of a car and attached by a chain to another car.  The baby would be torn and pulled to bits until it was unrecognizable. He told Andre he would make a movie true to his story and could only guarantee him that it would be relegated to arthouse theatres, would not make money and would not be seen by anyone. Andre sold the rights to him immediately.  

This is how the movie, “The House of Sand and Fog”, came to be.  

Andre was a Very Animated Speaker

After the show, Mrs. LanceAround and I got to spend some time with Andre who regaled us with tales of writing his novels, playing as an extra in his movie, watching his story get adapted to the big screen and much more. I got Andre a beverage and listened as he answered all these questions and more from the curious crowd.  

I thought to myself, “only at the outdoor Eden Bar at the Enzian theatre under those large, Spanish Moss covered oak trees could you have such an educational and enjoyable evening like this.”  

Now the lucky readers of my blog will know about these obscure programs that are worth seeking out because they will provide experiences you’ll remember for a lifetime!

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2 Responses to “Andre Dubus III at the Enzian Theatre”

  1. Chris Blanc Says:

    As always thanks for blogging about us and this awesome annual event. Glad you got out there to enjoy!

    • LanceAround Says:

      Hi Chris: I really like the new adirondack table and chairs you guys have set up on the lawn. And it looks like the Eden Bar has really become a gathering hotspot. You should feel really proud about how wonderful the theatre has grown! I can’t wait to blog about the Florida Film Festival. LanceAround

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