Incendies Movie Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Incendies
Reviewed by Samuel Park on April 21, 2011
Hopscotch Films
presents a film directed by Denis Villeneuve
Screenplay by Denis Villeneuve from the play by Wajdi Mouawad
Starring: Lubna Azabal, Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette and Remy Girard
Running Time: 130 minutes
Rating: MA15+
Released: April 21, 2011


9/10

 

 

After the death of Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal), her children, twins Jeanne (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) are given, by the notary Lebel (Rémy Girard), two envelopes. One is addressed to the father they thought was dead, the other to a brother they never knew existed. These letters prompt first Jeanne and then Simon to discover the truth of their mother's past by retracing her life spent in a war-torn country, a country divided by religious hatred.

The film opens with the image of a group of young boys having their heads shaved. As this happens the camera zooms in on the eyes of one young boy, which are staring out at the audience. It's a confronting image which makes you feel complicit in the action that is taking place on screen. The academy award nomiated Incendies makes us question whether you can remain neutral, and whether you can ever really escape from violence. Can we, as an audience, escape this film? We certainly can't ignore it. This initial sequence sets the tone for the rest of the film, making it an incredibly difficult film to watch, and a film that will haunt you long after it has ended.

Incendies intentionally never explicitly place this film in a particular location - it could be any Middle-Eastern country torn apart by violence born of religious intolerance. The shooting of Narwal's lover early in the film is a microcosm of the civil war that tears their country apart. This same violence is one that tears Nawal's life apart and impacts upon the lives of her children.

The images of violence in this film are unflinching and are unsentimental. It's not intended to makes us sad, but instead asks us to question how this set of circumstances came about. It's an indictment against extremism - whether Christian or Muslim - and how each does as much damage to the people that come in contact with it as the other.

Incendies has obviously had a lot of effort poured into from everyone involved. The music track, mainly consisting of Radiohead songs, suits the mood of the film so perfectly. The film has also been shot with such attention, which results in so many powerful images expressing so much without relying on the actors too much. That's not to say that the acting isn't powerful, it just isn't over the top; everything is paired back and therefore it seems cemented in reality. I can't fault anything within this film. Incendies is the most moving piece of cinema I have seen in a long time.

Incendies is a complex, well written, challenging film that forces the audience to sit up and pay attention. It even forces you to ask yourself some tough questions about the state of the world. For these reasons, anyone who has any interest in being challenged should make the effort to dedicate time to this film. Despite the 130 minute length, the pace is quick and the story will hook you till the last minute. This film is a magnificent piece of art.






 
 



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