A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later.
Juan José Campanella
A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
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
"Incendies" is French for conflagrations (or fires), but the film kept its French title in many countries, including the USA. In many countries, the title translates to "Incendies - The Woman who Sings". See more »
Scenes set in Lebanon give away their real location by the cars with Jordanian number plates. See more »
Incendies was a mixed bag, but I felt like it's negative aspects really bore down on it's positive ones. On the solid side of things, Denis Villeneuve has a real knack for storytelling and an eye for imagery that is truly gorgeous. Some of the shots here dug deep into my brain, be them haunting or beautiful, they managed to elicit a strong reaction from me.
The premise of the story is quite an intriguing one -- upon their mother's death, two twins discovery their father is alive and they have a brother they never knew and then set upon a quest to reveal the truth, and in casting the leads I don't think they could have found more skilled actresses than Lubna Azabal and Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin for the job. These women are a rarity in modern cinema; strong and fierce, fully stood in their beliefs and decisions. It's powerful to see such strong women and the actresses portray them with just that level of gusto and perseverance that is required.
Where it falls apart though is it's structure. Incendies is another of the many dozen films this year that employ a split-time narrative structure and it's yet another example of how to do it improperly. The sections (detailing the twins journey for the truth against the mother's past and her own journey) never feel like they mesh well and it ends up feeling like two completely separate films. At first it wasn't so bad, but as the film progressed the space between these two grew further and further apart.
The last act is where it really derails, as in the present day there are huge discoveries made that we already knew so they lack the sense of emotional catharsis that the characters receive and in the past we see events that the characters already know about so it just becomes a retelling of things we are already aware of. The final act is this bizarrely awkward display of throwing everything at the audience in quick succession, so out of place from a film that had been slowly building up until that point. It felt as though they didn't want it to end up being three hours long so they threw together half a film's worth of information into half an hour. It ends up feeling very awkward and disjointed and completely lost me by the time the credits rolled.
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