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Incendies (2010)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, War  |  12 January 2011 (France)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 67,728 users   Metascore: 82/100
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Twins journey to the Middle East to discover their family history, and fulfill their mother's last wishes.



(script consultant), (play) (as Wadji Mouawad) , 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mustafa Kamel ...
Barbier de la Milice / Officer Milice Chrétienne
Hussein Sami ...
Nihad (5ans)
Maxim Gaudette ...
Dominique Briand ...
Professor Niv Cohen
Frédéric Paquet ...
Médecin a l'urgence
Hamed Najem ...
Bassem Marwan
Bader Alami ...
Nicolas Marwan
Majida Hussein ...
Grand-mére de Nawal
Asriah Nijres ...
John Dunn-Hill ...
Professeur Saïd Haidar
Nadia Essadiqi ...
Secrétaire Université


A mother's last wishes send twins Jeanne and Simon on a journey to the 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 core of deep-rooted hatred, never-ending wars and enduring love. Written by Mylène Chollet

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The search began at the opening of their mother's will.


Drama | Mystery | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

12 January 2011 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Die Frau die singt - Incendies  »

Box Office


$6,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$50,679 (USA) (22 April 2011)


$6,857,096 (USA) (23 September 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although shot in Jordan, the Middle Eastern country in which the film takes place was deliberately left unnamed. Some viewers have noted the word "Palestine" visible on a window in Nawal's school, but the Christian-Muslim conflict would seem to imply the setting is Lebanon, the birthplace of playwright Wajdi Mouawad. See more »


Scenes set in Lebanon give away their real location by the cars with Jordanian number plates. See more »


Notary Jean Lebel: Will of Mrs. Nawal Marwan... To Notary Jean Lebel: Bury me with no casket, no prayers, naked, face down, away from the world. Stone and epitaph. I want no gravestone, nor my name engraved anywhere. No epitaph for those who don't keep their promises. To Jeanne and Simon: Childhood is a knife stuck in your throat. It can't be easily removed. Jeanne, Mr Lebel will give you an envelope. The envelope is for your father. Find him, and give it to him. Simon, the notary will give you an envelope... The...
See more »

Crazy Credits

'Mr. Leonard Cohen I need your help, please call me." - Denis Villeneuve See more »


Featured in The 83rd Annual Academy Awards (2011) See more »


You and Whose Army?
Written by Colin Greenwood (as Colin C. Greenwood), Jonny Greenwood (as Jonathan RG. Greenwood), Ed O'Brien (as Edward J. O'Brien), Phil Selway (as Philip J. Selway), and Thom Yorke (as Thomas E. Yorke)
Performed by Radiohead
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Our Love Became a Funeral Pyre
26 March 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When people watch the Oscars, they don't usually care about the Best Foreign Film nominees. Incendies provides so many reasons why people should actually get to see those nominees at all costs. Incendies is the kind of film that one walks away from feeling emotionally drained, one where it stays in the viewer's mind for days on end. Like an intense personal experience, it takes a lot to come to grips with the film's story, a moving plot full of twists and catharsis. At the New Directors/New Films Festival in New York, at which I saw this last night, Denis Villeneuve explained that he has made four films in Canada, but this is the first one to be released in America. Right now, I see no reason why Villeneuve, or any of the actors for that matter, shouldn't have a great future ahead of them.

Based on the play Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad, Incendies follows a non-linear plot that spans two generations. In the present day, Jeanne and Simon are twins who have lost their mother, Nawal. Nawal has stipulated in her will that Jeanne and Simon must return an envelope to the brother they didn't know existed who is currently living in a fictional Middle Eastern country. Only then can the twins give Nawal a proper burial. Jeanne feels obligated to return the letter, so she goes to the Middle East, only to realize some of Nawal's nastiest secrets. As Jeanne uncovers more about Nawal, the viewer is shown Nawal's story. The film builds up to an unforgettable ending that is sure to rock any viewer.

Incendies already had great source material. I've praised the plot enough, but one thing I must add is that the play is apparently four hours long, according to Villeneuve. It's impressive that this movie succeeds so nicely because I can't imagine that anything was cut. But to back up that source material, there's some really great acting. The entire cast plays their parts with such an emotional vigor that it seems impossible that this work of art wasn't autobiographical.

Furthermore, Villeneuve has made a film that relies on great filmmaking to impact the viewer. The cinematography is beautifully bland, surely a nod to some of the deserts in the Lebanon- like land where the movie takes place. Color scheme is also used to Villeneuve's advantage to show the parallels between Nawal and Jeanne's lives. Villeneuve seems to love working with extended zoom shots that shock the viewer with their overwhelmingly long silences. Why Villeneuve didn't receive critical acclaim (in America, at least) before Incendies is a mystery.

There are many movies about the Middle East. Some have failed miserably in their attempts to strike an emotional chord with critics and viewers alike (Redacted, Rendition), but others have been extremely successful (The Hurt Locker, Lebanon). Incendies could very well be one of the best films ever made about the conflicts in the Middle East. It has its flaws which keep it from being a masterpiece (maybe it could've lost five or ten minutes), but it is that rare type of film that really resonates beyond the initial viewing. Hopefully, Incendies will be remembered for years to come as the little, brilliant film that spawned the great fame of Denis Villeneuve.

108 of 126 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Manipulative garbage Hybridspasser
How did Jeanne understood so quickly the 'can 1+1 = 1?' thing? AndersonKaramazov
Is this movie anti-Christian? filmnoggin
Does the mother expect Nihad to kill himself at the end? sriganesh-murthi
How did sheknow? donny619
Where is the movie set?? LuisaTodi
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