Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
The scope and the sheer dramatic punch of Incendies are virtually guaranteed to make it one of this year’s ‘arthouse’ must-sees. The Festival brings you the chance to experience its power on the truly giant screen.
“A staggering political drama that could put you in mind of the intimate sweep of Bernardo Bertolucci, Incendies feels like a mighty movie in our midst. The film seems sprung from a different era – the gloriously bold early 70s – or perhaps an alien studio system. (That would beCanada’s.) The dislocation fits the material perfectly: Denis Villeneuve’s family drama, based on a much chattier play by Wajdi Mouawad, takes place in a fictional Middle East country a lot likeLebanon, where atrocities linger in memory…
This is a land largely unknown to Arabborn Montreal siblings Jeanne and Simon, who assemble in the offices of their mother’s notary for the reading of her will. They learn of a father they never knew, as well as a brother, and are tasked with finding them both. The scene sounds like a cliché (and is), yet as the movie begins to toggle between the pair’s explorations in the former war zone and flashbacks to the violent life of their mother, Nawal (the restrained Lubna Azabal), you forgive the setup. In Villeneuve’s hands, we’re delivered to revelatory terror: A fierce honor killing is eclipsed by a masterfully mounted siege on a Muslim bus by Christian soldiers. Quieter moments of personal reckoning carry explosive weight – to reveal more is to strip the film of its sad wisdom. The country may not exist, but the tale’s truth is everywhere.” — Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out