Saturday 11 April 2015

Review: Incendies (2010)

We’re not doing too well with getting through the IMDB Top 250 list. It’s a blogging goal of ours, and it’s on Jenna’s 30 before 30 list, and well, she’s getting on a bit now! (I’m joking - I love you!) so we’ve both given ourselves a kick up the backside recently to get a move on. I had quite a few films recommended to me on the IMDB forums after a post I made about The Usual Suspects, and when I realised one of those suggested films was also on the Top 250 list, I knew it should be the next thing I saw!

Incendies is a fantastic Canadian film which was nominated for an Oscar in 2011 for ‘Best Foreign Language Film of the Year’. I would love to find out what won and watch it just to try and understand why Incendies didn't win. It tells the story of twins (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gaudette) who have just lost their mother (Lubna Azabal), visiting their mother’s colleague and friend to witness her will being read. Included in her will are multiple notes and envelopes instructing the twins to find their brother and father. Thing is, they were under the impression that their father was dead, and they didn’t even know they had a brother.

I wondered whether I might struggle with Incendies. It is with great shame that I confess this is the first foreign-speaking film I’ve ever seen, and I wasn’t sure if I would get the full emotional effect by reading subtitles for just under 2 hours. Although I would always prefer an English-speaking film, I have to say that the subtitles didn’t distract me at all and the emotions were still clearly evident. Incendies won’t be the first and last foreign-speaking film I see, that’s for sure.

Let me move on to the film itself though. Incendies is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, it tells a fascinating tale of this inspiring lady, the twins mother, through a series of flashbacks and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such graphic scenes without actual graphic content. I realise that may not make sense right now, but if you see the film you’ll understand. The themes certainly aren’t for the light hearted. The very mention of a war film makes me want to nod off to sleep usually, but Incendies has opened my eyes to a film genre I have always pushed aside and ignored.

As fascinating as the story was, I did the feel the time length quite heavily. However, just as I started to get fidgety, wondering how the issues could be resolved in the next half an hour without ending terribly, everything started to come together and I spent that time with my jaw hanging. As the entwining stories finally came to their conclusion, I was stunned and actually had to rewind just to be sure I’d read the subtitles correctly. Simply amazing, that’s the only way I can describe that ending.

I’ve already mentioned this, but Incendies is definitely not for everyone. I image many would be turned off at some of the adult themes, and others may give up just before I nearly did. Those who stick with it though are in for an amazing experience.

1 comment:

  1. Incendies lost to In a Better World. I haven't seen Incendies yet (although I really want to, and great review BTW), but In a Better World was the film I rooted for all season because I love the director, Susanne Bier. It's not my favorite work from her (the film is good, not great), but she's a great director and so I'm so happy she has an Oscar!