13 jun. 2012

My Review: Incendies (10/10)

¨Death is never the end of a story. There are still traces. If you want to find your brother, you`ll have to go back into your mother`s past.¨

Incendies is a very powerful and emotional film from Quebec director, Dennis Villeneuve, which won almost every award in Canada, several international awards for Best Foreign film and it was also nominated for an Oscar. The movie is based on Wajdi Mouawad`s play and it actually plays out as sort of a Greek tragedy. It has several interesting twists; it jumps back and forth in time, and has a very emotional and shocking last twenty minutes. I really never guessed what direction the movie was going to go next as it mixed some romance, drama, and interesting thrills in ways I never imagined it too. The first half hour I have to admit I was kind of bored with the story, but as things began to intertwine and develop I was totally hooked and the final payoff was really worth those long first minutes. The story is really well told and that is perhaps what I enjoyed the most about this film more than the cinematography or the performance from the cast. The film has a very solid and well structured story that allows us to gather information little by little and figure out how all these different characters end up being connected to each other. The story sticks with you long after the film has ended, and makes you want to go back and see everything from the beginning again. I really enjoyed this film and was shocked by the end.
Twins, Jeanne (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin) and Simon Marwan (Maxim Gaudette) are surprised to discover that they have an older brother whom they have never heard of and a surviving father who they have never seen when their dead mother leaves them the task of finding them and delivering a letter to each in her will. Simon has no intention of following her mother`s wishes once he hears the news from the Notary Jean Lebel (Remy Girard) who was very close to his mother. Simon claims his mother was always absent minded and may have been a great employee for Jean, but as a mother it was a different story. Jeanne on the other hand is intrigued about finding out who her father and brother are, so she decides to travel to the Middle East and trace the steps of her mother as the past may reveal several clues as to who her mother really was. While Jeanne is in the Middle East searching for her brother and father, we have flashbacks of her mother, Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal), growing up during the dangerous civil war and fights between Christians and Muslims. She is sent away from the village where she lived in for falling for a refugee and getting pregnant. They kill him, but Nawal`s grandmother spares her life and the life of her son. She sends her to live with an uncle and study, while she gives her son for adoption. Nawal promises her baby boy that she will one day come back for him, but when the civil war broke out she lost all contact with him. Jeanne begins to see how one terrible act lead to another as the horrors her mother lived through escalate.

Incendies is a Canadian French production but most of the film takes place in the Middle East. I thought the actors gave a convincing performance, and they let the story be the true star of the film. Every scene is connected to another in some way or another, although you don’t quite understand why some scenes were shown until the end of the film. I had to go back and rewatch some of them just to see what I had missed. There are several hints and clues that the director leaves on the way as to what the final outcome is going to be, but I really wasn’t expecting the shocking finale. I like these kinds of thrillers that have convincing twists without trying to fool the viewer. If you go back and watch the scenes again you realize that everything was there and you could have made the connection long before the end. Incendies shows us how one hateful act can lead to another and only make matters worse, it also shows us how religious wars blind us and make us do things we`d never do in a million years. It will be hard to get this movie off my head and I absolutely recommend it because it`s a very powerful and emotional thriller.

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