• James Rutherford

'Incendies': Denis Villeneuve's Immersive and Emotionally Devastating Drama-Thriller


Movie poster for the Canadian film Incendies starring Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gaudette

“Incendies" (2010) is a deeply enthralling drama-thriller that follows a pair of siblings (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gaudette) as they honor the last wish of their mother, Nawal (Lubna Azabal), by journeying from Montréal to the Middle East in search of the father they have never known.

The brother-and-sister duo's investigation and profound discoveries are finely interwoven with flashbacks to their mother’s own arduous travails within the same war-torn region decades earlier, as a Christian-Arab driven by the injustice of losing her lover and her son amidst hardline sectarian tumult. Azabal, in particular, is stunningly assured in her portrayal of a desperate and determined woman galvanized by loss, retribution and heartbreaking compromise.

Adapted from the stage play by Wajdi Mouawad and directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) “Incendies” is immersive, riveting and ultimately shocking—providing as emotionally visceral an experience as you are likely to find on film. A 2010 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, this one is clearly something very special right from the captivating, Radiohead-themed opening sequence.

 

View the trailer:

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