Incendies (2010)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Incendies</strong> (2010)

(In theaters, February 2011) French Canadian cinema is best-known for comedies and historical pieces rather than globe-spanning dramas, and that’s a good part of why Incendies feels so satisfying.  Spanning thirty years and two continents, the film is kicked off by posthumous revelations that send Montréal-based twins to the Middle East (specifically Lebanon, although the film is careful to invent place names and never specify countries) where they eventually piece together a set of terrible family secrets.  While borrowing a few tricks from the thriller playbook (Guns! Explosions!  Torture!), this is a serious drama more than anything else.  Bouncing in time between the contemporary odyssey of the twins and the events of their mother’s life, Incendies has scope, dramatic depth and feels like a world-class production.  The actors are exceptional (Lubna Azabal is particularly good, but it’s also hilarious to see Remy Girard show up in another Oscar-nominated film), the direction is solid and the film features some wide-screen cinematography along the way, despite a comparatively small budget and source material adapted from a stage play.  This is a film to chew on for a while, in its operatic themes of redemption and blinding truth.  Deservedly nominated for an Academy Award, Incendies also marks an odd development for Quebec cinema: a film that uses Montréal as a framing device for a story that takes place elsewhere.  It’s good to see the local film industry look outside once in a while.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *