Francophone production burns away the competition

By Ema Kibirkstis

Incendie is a French and Quebec-made film based on the play by Wadji Mouawad and now brought to the big screen by Denis Villeneuve (Maelstrom, Polytechnique). This unbelievable film is set in two time frames, the present when Jeanne (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) deal with their mother’s death, and the mother’s (Lubna Azabal) past.

It begins with the unravelling of the mother’s will, which is strange and uncommon; she wants to be buried naked facedown without any tombstone. The children are shocked by this request and even more frustrated when the notary gives each of them an envelope, one for their father, who was thought to be dead, and one for their brother, whom they had never heard of.

Finally, Jeanne begins the search by travelling to the Middle East and discovers many of her mother’s secrets she would have never even thought possible. The brother, unwillingly, joins her and then takes on where Jeanne has left off, soon becomes as absorbed in their mother’s history as his sister.

The story is filled with twists and turns keeping you guessing the whole way through. Though a bit different from the original play, it was as enjoyable seeing as they extended the production by adding more scenes and events, making the conclusion even more credible. Once everything comes together, you can’t help but stay in your seat in awe leaving the cinema traumatized (in a good way I assure you).

All in all, Incendie is an impressive movie that exceeded all my expectations, though I should have guessed considering it was named the best Canadian feature film at the Toronto International Film Festival and has been chosen as one our country’s candidates for a nomination as best foreign film at the Academy Awards. A definite must-see, assuming you don’t have a weak heart.

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