Incendies (2010)

Movie Photo
IMDb Rating
8.2 out of 10 (view IMDb page)

A mother's last wishes send twins Jeanne and Simon on a journey to Middle East in search of their tangled roots. Adapted from Wajdi Mouawad's acclaimed play, Incendies tells the powerful and moving tale of two young adults' voyage to the co

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(Based on 0 Ratings)
MPAA Rating:
130 Minutes
Drama, Mystery, War
Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve

Weekly Volcano's Review

Rev. Adam McKinney on June 22nd, 2011

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A funny thing happens toward the end of Incendies. In a film that truly centers on the nature of revenge and the vicious cycle that can arise from calling for an eye for an eye - after we see how cruel and senseless this inevitably becomes - we end up complicit in this thirst for blood. We want revenge against someone who committed vile atrocities. When the film ends with a message of forgiveness, it's a marvel how this suddenly seems like a novel and commendable approach.

The film opens as the twins, Jeanne and Simon (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gaudette), are being read the last will and testament of their mother, Nawal. Part of her dying wish is for her children to deliver envelopes to their long-lost father and the brother they never knew they had back in the Middle Eastern town of Nawal's youth. Jeanne is adamant about fulfilling her mother's last wish, while Simon is bitter and resistant to the idea of dredging up the past.

What follows, as Jeanne journeys through war-torn villages, is a devastating trip down the rabbit hole of Nawal's painful past. Raised in the middle of a conflict between Christians and Muslims, Nawal seemingly never knew a moment's peace. After getting pregnant out of wedlock with a Muslim man, Nawal was forced to give up her child and leave her village for the city, where she became entrenched in politics and striving for equilibrium. Sadly, it seems as though she never found it.

Incendies is led by a brave and heartbreaking performance from Lubna Azabal, as the young Nawal. That she gets as far as she does in life - that she lives through this madness at all - without sinking forever into despair is partly due to the power of her will, and partly a matter of necessity. In the world in which she lives, there simply is no option of wallowing in one's misfortune. There is only the motion of putting one step in front of the other and reserving hope for the things that are immediately changeable.

Having been raised in Canada, and brought up to speak French, Jeanne and Simon gradually learn the real distance that has existed between their mother and them. Even as they begin to piece together the parts of the mystery, even as they know more than ever about who their mother really was, the distance only grows. All along, they really knew nothing at all. - Three and a half stars

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