Director – Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
Cast – Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Lubna Azabal, Maxim Gaudette
Plot – Twins Jeanne (Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Gaudette) find themselves thrown into a mystery regarding their father they’ve never met and a brother they never knew they had after their Middle Eastern mother Mawal (Azabal) passes away and leaves them two mysterious letters to deliver.
“Death is never the end of the story. It always leaves tracks”
Review by Eddie on 09/05/2018
Want to see where one of the modern era’s hottest directing streaks started? If you do, then Incendies in the film for you.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve, who went from this French/Canadian co-production to move onto Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, Arrival and last year’s brilliant sequel Blade Runner 2049, Incendies is the Oscar nominated film that put Villeneuve on the path he finds himself on now and remains a film of substantial power these years on from initial release.
Adapted from Wajdi Mouawad’s play of the same name, Incendies is a multi-layered narrative that spans both numerous countries and numerous characters over various timelines but Villeneuve controls his film perfectly as the mystery that lays at the heart of this tale about family, war, life and death never gets muddled as we’re drawn further and further into a film that wraps us up in its web and refuses to let us go.
There’s not the abundance of filmmaking and visual flair that Villeneuve has started to become known for over his more recent Hollywood productions but Incendies power comes almost exclusively from Villeneuve’s deft hand with his performers, his handling of a script that other filmmakers would struggle to bring to life and his ability to slowly ebb out more information as we go, that by the time we come to realise just what lays in store for the films characters, the power of Incendies becomes even more apparent.
Saying to much about this story would be a disservice to a film that takes many various turns and pivots. Essentially at its core, a story of both twins Jeanne and Simon Marwan trying to uncover the secret of their father they’ve never met and find a brother they never knew they had after their Middle Eastern born mother Nawal passes away, Incendies becomes so much more than a typical family drama as it showcases time in the conflict of the Israeli and Palestinian Holy Wars, as well as the twins journey back to their country of nationality.
The film in many ways showcases a different side to Villeneuve and proves the director is just as at home handling a $150 million plus Sci-Fi for a major Hollywood studio as he is behind the camera of a small intimate drama that is driven purely by its narrative and characters. Proof the filmmaker is a man of many talents and a director to be cherished by those that love cinema.
Final Say –
For any fans of Villeneuve’s work, world cinema or powerful character driven dramas, then Incendies should be a film you seek out as soon as possible. Losing none of its power since its initial release, this sometimes hard to watch but always enthralling film is standout filmmaking and the official blasting off point for one of the modern era’s great filmmakers.
5 swimming pools out of 5
Quite a dark one. Not my favorite of his films, but certainly one that’s impossible to forget.
I think that’s where its power lays mate, its one I’ve never forgotten from the moment I first saw it. What a filmmaker!
Great review of a genuine film classic. What a grea story brilliantly envisioned.
Cheers Paul. It’s a really amazing film, one I am always up for revisiting as its got so much going on.
I gotta watch this now
Mate you do! It’s a very powerful piece of filmmaking
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