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Incendies

(DVD - 2011 - French)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Incendies
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After the death of their mother, a set of twins make a life-altering discovery. The pair travels to the Middle East on a mission to uncover the truth about the father they thought was dead who is still very much alive, and the brother they never knew existed. Along the way they will piece together the story of the woman who brought them into the world, discovering a tragic fate as well as the courage of an exceptional woman.
Publisher: Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [2011]
Branch Call Number: Fre DVD MOVIE I
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 130 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.

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Dec 30, 2014
  • Nursebob rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

After her death Nawal Marwan’s fraternal twins, Simon and Jeanne, come together for the reading of her Will. There is the expected 50/50 split of earthly possessions and bank accounts but then things take a strange turn. Nawal leaves express instructions that her body is to be buried in shame; nude, without a casket, and facing downwards, nor is she to have a gravestone marking the site until “an old promise is kept”. In addition, according to their mother’s further wishes Simon and Jeanne are to deliver two letters; one to their father whom they believed dead, and one to a brother they never knew they had. With only a few documents and a grainy photograph as clues Jeanne heads to the Middle East country (Lebanon, deliberately unnamed) where her mother lived before immigrating to Montreal. Simon, meanwhile, stubbornly refuses to take part in what he believes to be a wild goose chase---or is he more afraid than he’s willing to admit? As Jeanne, and later a reluctant Simon, get closer to a truth more horrible than they can imagine a series of flashbacks involving their mother fills in the narrative blanks setting the audience up for a most distressing final revelation. I must admit to being initially incensed by the film’s ending for it came across as sensationalistic and needlessly exaggerated, but after several deep breaths and a long talk with my friend Nurit I came to appreciate it for the darkly operatic metaphor it was clearly meant to be. Making maximum use of the harsh lighting and stark spaces of his desert locations Denis Villeneuve tackles issues of identity, fanaticism and hatred as we see a country literally feeding on itself in order to sustain its perpetual hunger for war. As tightly edited and relentlessly paced as it is, Incendies’ overall tone struck me as a bit inconsistent however, going from sibling squabbles to warfare atrocities to a surreal poolside encounter that was probably more effective in the initial stage production. Furthermore a soundtrack of anglo ballads seemed out of place when the impassioned strains of a Middle Eastern orchestra would have complemented the story’s decidedly theatrical core far more effectively. Minor criticisms aside, the film does conclude with a softly devastating coda in which letters are read and old wounds are laid bare to the sun, if not exactly healed.

Aug 05, 2014
  • cdeclercq rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This film is a very good example of what war does to people. It's cruel, horrible and heartbreaking and if you add intolerance and hatred of other religions or cultures to the mix, you find yourself in the most inhuman living condition there is.
This movie shows it all, no holds barred; this is what it's like...

Feb 28, 2014
  • Cyborg_Kid rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Vicious nasty show which uses brutal graphic violence, perhaps trying to make a point that I didn't get. If you like to see children butchered, rape, incest and assorted other depravity then this is your show. As a Canadian I am ashamed to be associated with this filthy garbage. Reminds me of American shows where they can't think of a plot twist so they pull out the guns and start shooting people for our entertainment.

@ Icon SusannahElf
The copy I had didn't have English subtitles which is odd. Some copies may be different.

Okay, is it just me, or have other people had problems getting the English subtitles to show? I tried at least 10 times, because I really want to see this film, especially having been hooked by the extended non-verbal sequence at the beginning. I've thought about muddling through the French parts, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't get the Arabic dialogue!

Aug 05, 2013
  • RDL rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is an incredible movie which explains many things about history. Most of the violence is off set because the "after" is more important. The retribution is where the guilty cannot run away from their actions. The reviewer that gave 1/2 star must have an agenda beyond the movie.

Jul 01, 2013
  • madison382 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Really good mystery movie.

This is a good show and reminds me of the story of Oedipus, don't you agree?

Mar 20, 2013
  • Lauren31 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Wow, fantastic film. This will be one that will stick with you for days, mulling over the twists and turns, and the impact of war on people.

I may have missed some of the subtleties though, as the OPL copy of this film is French only (no English subtitles)

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Jun 17, 2013
  • Nutty rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Nutty thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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