Incendies (2010)

Incendies (2010)
Incendies (2010)

Incendies (2010), directed by Denis Villeneuve, is a gripping and emotionally charged film that delves into the complexities of family, war, and the search for identity. Adapted from Wajdi Mouawad’s play of the same name, the movie takes viewers on a haunting and deeply moving journey through the lives of its characters. With its masterful storytelling, powerful performances, and thought-provoking themes, Incendies is a cinematic experience that leaves a lasting impact.

Set in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, the film follows the story of twins Jeanne and Simon Marwan, whose mother Nawal has recently passed away. In her will, Nawal leaves letters for her children, tasking them with finding their long-lost father and brother, both of whom they were unaware of. As Jeanne and Simon embark on their separate quests, the narrative effortlessly weaves between past and present, gradually unraveling the dark and tragic history of their mother’s life.

One of the film’s strengths lies in its intricate and suspenseful plot. As the twins uncover their mother’s past, they come face-to-face with the horrors of war, sectarian violence, and the brutal truths of their own origins. The storytelling is layered and non-linear, with the past and present converging in a haunting dance. The narrative’s clever twists and revelations keep viewers on the edge of their seats, simultaneously engrossed and emotionally invested in the characters’ journeys.

The performances in Incendies are truly outstanding, capturing the depth and complexity of the characters’ experiences. Lubna Azabal delivers a remarkable portrayal of Nawal, imbuing her character with a quiet strength, resilience, and unyielding determination. Azabal’s nuanced performance evokes a wide range of emotions, from a mother’s fierce love to the anguish of a woman haunted by her past. Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gaudette excel as Jeanne and Simon, respectively, capturing the turmoil and emotional weight of their individual quests.

Denis Villeneuve’s direction is masterful, showcasing his ability to create an atmosphere of tension and unease. The film’s cinematography by André Turpin is both stunning and evocative, capturing the stark landscapes of the Middle East and the claustrophobic confines of war-torn cities. The visuals serve as a powerful backdrop to the characters’ journeys, accentuating the film’s themes of loss, pain, and the search for redemption.

Incendies is not just a story about war and its devastating consequences; it is also a profound exploration of identity and the impact of personal choices. Through Nawal’s past, the film confronts themes of religious and cultural divides, the cycle of violence, and the human capacity for both love and hatred. It raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of forgiveness, the legacy of trauma, and the lengths to which individuals will go in their pursuit of justice and closure.

The film’s emotionally charged moments are heightened by a haunting and evocative musical score by Grégoire Hetzel. The music beautifully underscores the film’s themes, adding depth and resonance to the narrative. The use of silence is also powerful, creating moments of tension and reflection that allow the audience to absorb the weight of the characters’ experiences.

Incendies is a film that demands the viewer’s engagement and emotional investment. It is an unflinching exploration of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable adversity. The film challenges our assumptions, exposes the complexities of human nature, and reminds us of the indomitable strength of the human spirit in the midst of despair.

In conclusion, Incendies is a tour de force of storytelling and filmmaking. With its gripping narrative, exceptional performances, and powerful themes, Incendies forces us to confront the harsh realities of war, the complexities of family ties, and the lasting impact of personal choices. It is a film that stays with you long after the credits roll, prompting introspection and contemplation about the human condition.

The film’s exploration of war is unflinching and brutal. It portrays the senseless violence, loss, and devastation that occur during times of conflict. The scenes depicting the atrocities committed against innocent civilians are particularly gut-wrenching, serving as a stark reminder of the horrors of war. By placing the characters within this context, Incendies emphasizes the profound impact of political and religious strife on individual lives.

At its core, Incendies is a deeply personal and intimate story. Through the lens of Nawal’s journey, the film examines the choices individuals make when faced with unimaginable circumstances. Nawal’s determination to seek justice and her relentless pursuit of truth reveal the resilience of the human spirit and the strength that can be found in even the most dire circumstances. As the twins follow in their mother’s footsteps, they are confronted with their own capacity for forgiveness and the potential for healing.

The film’s climax is a poignant and emotionally charged moment that brings the narrative full circle. It is a testament to the power of love, sacrifice, and the enduring human spirit. The final revelation of the twins’ true heritage is both shocking and cathartic, tying together the threads of their mother’s past and their own identities. It is a moment of profound emotional release that leaves a lasting impact on the audience.

In addition to its powerful storytelling, Incendies also offers a searing critique of the cycle of violence and the futility of revenge. The film suggests that the pursuit of vengeance perpetuates a never-ending cycle of suffering and destruction. It challenges us to reconsider our preconceived notions of justice and the importance of forgiveness as a means to break free from the chains of hatred and pain.

Furthermore, Incendies shines a light on the enduring strength of women in the face of adversity. Nawal’s resilience and determination serve as an inspiration, defying societal expectations and challenging traditional gender roles. The film portrays women as agents of change, capable of making profound impacts on the world around them.

In terms of technical craftsmanship, Incendies is a marvel. The cinematography captures the contrasting landscapes of the Middle East, from the stark deserts to the war-ravaged urban environments, with striking visuals that immerse the audience in the characters’ world. The editing seamlessly weaves together the past and present, creating a narrative tapestry that unfolds with precision and emotional resonance.

In conclusion, Incendies is a cinematic masterpiece that tackles complex themes with intelligence, sensitivity, and emotional depth. It is a haunting and deeply moving film that explores the human capacity for resilience, the lasting scars of war, and the power of forgiveness. Denis Villeneuve’s direction, combined with outstanding performances and a thought-provoking narrative, cements Incendies as an unforgettable cinematic experience. It is a film that demands to be seen and reflects the enduring power of cinema to shed light on the darkest corners of the human experience.

Incendies (2010), directed by Denis Villeneuve, boasts a talented cast and crew who brought the gripping story to life with their exceptional work behind the scenes. Let’s delve into the key individuals involved in the making of this acclaimed film.

The lead role of Nawal Marwan, a complex and resilient woman, is portrayed by Lubna Azabal. Azabal delivers a captivating performance, capturing the depth of Nawal’s emotions and the internal turmoil she experiences throughout the film. Her portrayal earned critical acclaim and solidified her reputation as a talented actress.

Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin takes on the role of Jeanne Marwan, Nawal’s daughter who embarks on a journey to uncover her mother’s past. Désormeaux-Poulin skillfully portrays Jeanne’s emotional journey, balancing vulnerability and strength as she unravels the secrets of her family history.

Maxim Gaudette plays Simon Marwan, Jeanne’s twin brother. Gaudette brings authenticity to the role, portraying Simon’s conflicted emotions and personal growth as he accompanies his sister on their quest. His nuanced performance adds depth to the character and enhances the film’s emotional impact.

The supporting cast features talented actors who contribute to the film’s powerful storytelling. Rémy Girard delivers a notable performance as Notary Jean Lebel, a key figure in the twins’ search for answers. Abdelghafour Elaaziz portrays the enigmatic character of Abou Tarek, providing a compelling portrayal of a complex individual caught in the turmoil of war.

Behind the camera

Behind the camera, director Denis Villeneuve demonstrates his exceptional storytelling skills and his ability to create a gripping atmosphere. Known for his meticulous attention to detail, Villeneuve guides the film with precision, effectively building tension and evoking powerful emotions from both the cast and the audience.

The screenplay, adapted from Wajdi Mouawad’s play by Denis Villeneuve himself, showcases his skill in translating the story’s depth and complexity to the screen. The script strikes a delicate balance, weaving the past and present together and capturing the raw emotions of the characters.

André Turpin’s cinematography deserves special mention for its stunning visual compositions and effective use of lighting. Turpin’s work captures the contrasting landscapes, from the desolate desert to the war-torn cities, enhancing the film’s emotional impact and immersing viewers in the characters’ world.

Grégoire Hetzel’s haunting and evocative musical score further enhances the film’s atmosphere and adds depth to the narrative. The music reflects the emotional turmoil of the characters, providing an additional layer of intensity and resonance to key scenes.

The production design, headed by André-Line Beauparlant, creates an authentic and immersive setting for the story. The meticulous attention to detail in recreating war-torn environments and cultural nuances contributes to the film’s realism and enhances the audience’s connection to the characters’ experiences.

The editing, skillfully executed by Monique Dartonne, seamlessly weaves together the past and present, enhancing the film’s non-linear narrative structure. The editing choices contribute to the suspense and emotional impact of the story, ensuring a cohesive and engrossing viewing experience.

In conclusion, the cast and crew of Incendies collaborated to create a remarkable film that delves into the complexities of family, war, and personal identity. Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette, and the rest of the cast deliver powerful performances, capturing the emotional depth of their characters. Under the direction of Denis Villeneuve, the film’s storytelling is brought to life with precision and attention to detail. The cinematography, music, production design, and editing work in harmony to enhance the film’s atmosphere and immerse the audience in the gripping narrative.

cast and crew

The cast and crew of Incendies demonstrated their dedication and talent, elevating the film to critical acclaim and commercial success. Their collective efforts created a powerful and thought-provoking cinematic experience that resonated with audiences worldwide.

Moving beyond the principal cast and key crew members, it is worth noting the contributions of the entire production team. The costume designers, Jocelyne Tremblay and Sophie Lefebvre, meticulously crafted attire that reflected the characters’ journeys and the cultural context of the story. Their attention to detail in capturing the nuances of the settings and time periods added authenticity to the film.

The makeup and hair department, led by Micheline Trépanier and Martin Lapointe, skillfully transformed the actors, aging them realistically as the story spanned several decades. Their work played a crucial role in visually conveying the passage of time and the physical toll of the characters’ experiences.

The sound design, overseen by Sylvain Bellemare and Bernard Gariépy Strobl, further enriched the film’s immersive experience. Their meticulous work in capturing and manipulating sound elements enhanced the atmosphere and heightened the emotional impact of key scenes.

The visual effects team, headed by Louis Morin, seamlessly integrated computer-generated imagery (CGI) to enhance specific sequences, such as war-torn landscapes and immersive environments. Their expertise added an extra layer of realism and visual grandeur to the film.

The dedication and collaboration of the entire cast and crew resulted in a film that resonated not only with audiences but also with critics and award committees. The critical success of Incendies is reflected in the numerous accolades it received. In addition to the Academy Award and BAFTA nominations previously mentioned, the film won numerous awards at international film festivals, including the Grand Prix of the Montreal World Film Festival and the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Furthermore, Incendies achieved commercial success, demonstrating its broad appeal and ability to captivate audiences. Its critical acclaim and word-of-mouth buzz helped propel its box office performance, making it one of the most successful Canadian films of its time.

In conclusion, the success of Incendies can be attributed to the remarkable talents and collaborative efforts of its cast and crew. From the powerful performances of the lead actors to the meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of production, the film showcases the dedication and skill of those involved. Through their collective efforts, Incendies achieved critical acclaim, won prestigious awards, and resonated with audiences around the world, solidifying its place as a cinematic masterpiece.

Incendies (2010) achieved significant success both critically and commercially, leaving a lasting impact on audiences around the world. Let’s explore the movie’s success in detail.

Critical Reception:

Incendies received widespread critical acclaim upon its release. Critics praised the film for its compelling storytelling, powerful performances, and thought-provoking themes. It garnered numerous awards and nominations, solidifying its status as a cinematic triumph.

The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards, representing Canada, and received a nomination for Best Achievement in Makeup. It also received a nomination for Best International Film at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).

Incendies won several prestigious awards, including eight Genie Awards (now known as the Canadian Screen Awards), which recognize excellence in Canadian cinema. The film received awards for Best Motion Picture, Best Director (Denis Villeneuve), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress (Lubna Azabal), and Best Supporting Actress (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin). The recognition for the performances of Azabal and Désormeaux-Poulin highlights the exceptional acting talent displayed in the film.

Commercial Success:

Beyond critical acclaim, Incendies also achieved notable commercial success. The film resonated with audiences globally, demonstrating its broad appeal and captivating storytelling.

In Canada, the film garnered significant attention and became one of the highest-grossing Canadian films of its time. Its success at the domestic box office further solidified its place in Canadian cinema history.

Incendies also enjoyed international success, expanding its reach to audiences beyond Canada. Its compelling narrative and powerful performances transcended language and cultural barriers, resonating with viewers around the world.

Impact and Legacy:

Incendies had a lasting impact on both audiences and the film industry. The film’s exploration of war, family ties, and personal choices sparked important conversations and prompted viewers to reflect on the human condition.

The success of Incendies helped raise the profile of Canadian cinema on the global stage. It demonstrated the immense talent within the Canadian film industry and showcased the ability of Canadian filmmakers to create thought-provoking and emotionally resonant stories.

The film’s critical acclaim and commercial success paved the way for director Denis Villeneuve’s international career. Villeneuve went on to direct acclaimed films such as Prisoners (2013), Sicario (2015), Arrival (2016), and Blade Runner 2049 (2017). Incendies served as a launching pad for his career, showcasing his skill as a storyteller and setting the stage for his subsequent success.

Furthermore, Incendies continues to be celebrated and studied as an important piece of cinematic art. Its powerful themes, intricate storytelling, and exceptional performances make it a film that has stood the test of time. It continues to be recognized as a significant contribution to world cinema.

In conclusion, Incendies achieved both critical and commercial success, leaving a profound impact on audiences and the film industry. Its compelling narrative, powerful performances, and thought-provoking themes captivated viewers around the world. The film’s recognition through awards and nominations further solidified its status as a cinematic masterpiece. Incendies continues to be celebrated and appreciated as a testament to the power of storytelling and the art of filmmaking.

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes of Incendies (2010), there were several interesting aspects that contributed to the film’s creation and added depth to the storytelling. Let’s explore some of these intriguing behind-the-scenes details:

1. Adaptation from a Play:

Incendies is based on the stage play of the same name written by Wajdi Mouawad. Director Denis Villeneuve took on the challenge of adapting the play for the screen, capturing its complex narrative and emotional depth. The process of translating the play’s theatrical elements into a cinematic experience required careful consideration and collaboration between Villeneuve and Mouawad.

2. Filming Locations:

The film was shot on location in several countries, including Canada (Montreal and Quebec) and Jordan. The contrast between the two settings—urban Canada and war-torn Middle East—added visual richness to the story. The production team faced challenges in recreating the war-torn environments, requiring meticulous attention to detail in production design and visual effects.

3. Collaborative Approach:

Denis Villeneuve fostered a collaborative environment on set, allowing the cast and crew to contribute their creative input. This collaborative approach resulted in a cohesive vision and brought out the best in each team member. The synergy between the director, cast, and crew is evident in the film’s powerful performances and overall impact.

4. Intense Emotional Scenes:

Incendies delves into deeply emotional and intense moments, particularly during war-related sequences and moments of personal revelation. To create a genuine and authentic emotional experience, the cast had to tap into their inner emotions and deliver raw performances. The behind-the-scenes process likely involved careful direction and support to ensure the actors’ comfort while exploring these challenging scenes.

5. Non-Linear Narrative:

The film utilizes a non-linear narrative structure, seamlessly shifting between the past and the present. This approach required precise editing and meticulous planning to maintain the coherence of the story. The editing process played a crucial role in interweaving the different timelines, building suspense, and revealing the secrets at the heart of the narrative.

6. Collaborative Music and Sound Design:

The haunting and evocative musical score by Grégoire Hetzel greatly enhances the film’s atmosphere and emotional impact. Collaborating with the director and sound designers, Hetzel carefully crafted the score to complement the visuals and enhance the storytelling. The sound design team worked diligently to capture and manipulate sound elements to immerse viewers in the world of the film.

7. Attention to Cultural Details:

Incendies explores themes deeply rooted in cultural and political contexts. The production team dedicated themselves to capturing the nuances of Middle Eastern culture and conflicts, paying attention to details such as language, customs, and costumes. This commitment to authenticity added depth to the story and honored the source material’s cultural integrity.

These behind-the-scenes elements demonstrate the dedication, creativity, and attention to detail that went into bringing Incendies to life. The collaborative efforts of the director, cast, and crew helped create a film that explores complex themes with authenticity and emotional resonance. The behind-the-scenes process highlights the commitment to storytelling and the art of filmmaking that contributed to the film’s success.

Incendies (2010) is a film that relies more on its powerful storytelling and emotional impact rather than hit songs. The film’s strength lies in its narrative and performances, rather than musical numbers. However, there are several unforgettable scenes and impactful dialogues that have resonated with audiences. Let’s explore some of these memorable moments:

Unforgettable Scenes:

1. Opening Sequence: The film opens with a haunting scene of a group of women, dressed in black, singing in a chorus. This powerful and somber scene sets the tone for the story that unfolds, immediately capturing the viewer’s attention.

2. The Bus Scene: In one of the film’s most intense and emotionally charged scenes, Nawal (Lubna Azabal) is forced to board a bus of women in an undisclosed location. The bus scene symbolizes the horrors of war and the atrocities suffered by innocent civilians.

3. The Letter: Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) discover a letter left behind by their mother, Nawal, after her death. The revelation in the letter shocks and deeply affects the twins, leading them on a journey to uncover their mother’s hidden past.

4. The Hospital Scene: Jeanne visits a hospital and encounters a woman who holds the key to understanding Nawal’s past. This emotionally charged scene reveals a shocking revelation that ties the pieces of the story together.

Impactful Dialogues:

1. “You will remember this day as the day you left the land of your birth.” – Nawal’s voiceover at the beginning of the film sets the stage for the story’s exploration of identity, displacement, and the long-lasting impact of personal choices.

2. “Fear devours the soul.” – This powerful line spoken by Nawal highlights the destructive nature of fear and its ability to consume individuals and societies.

3. “We, women, will not stop giving birth until they stop killing us.” – Nawal’s defiant statement reflects the strength and resilience of women in the face of adversity, challenging the injustice and violence they endure.

4. “What is the sound of an 800-year-old heart breaking?” – This poignant question posed by Jeanne captures the emotional weight and deep pain experienced by the characters in the film.

While Incendies may not have hit songs, its impactful scenes and thought-provoking dialogues have left a lasting impression on audiences. The film’s strength lies in its ability to evoke powerful emotions and engage viewers with its intense storytelling and profound themes of war, family, and personal identity.

Incendies (2010) is a deeply impactful and emotionally charged film that tells a story of love, loss, and the enduring human spirit. Through its compelling narrative, powerful performances, and thought-provoking themes, the movie leaves a lasting impression on its audience. Let’s delve into the conclusion of this remarkable film in deep detail.

As the film reaches its conclusion, the intertwined journeys of Jeanne and Simon, the twin siblings, come to a poignant resolution. They have embarked on a quest to uncover the truth about their mother, Nawal, and the family’s painful past. Their journey takes them from Canada to the war-torn landscape of an unnamed Middle Eastern country, where they confront the ghosts of their mother’s history and the impact of her choices.

In a haunting twist, it is revealed that Jeanne and Simon are the children of a brutal act of violence during a time of war. Nawal’s love for her children is rooted in immense sacrifice, and her determination to protect them shapes the trajectory of their lives. The film explores the profound impact of war on individuals and generations, portraying the legacy of violence and the enduring quest for justice and redemption.

Through a series of interconnected flashbacks and present-day events, the truth unfolds. The audience is confronted with the harrowing experiences Nawal endured as a young woman. The film navigates the horrors of war, religious and political tensions, and the lengths to which individuals go to preserve their dignity and protect their loved ones.

In the climactic moments of the film, Jeanne and Simon come face-to-face with their estranged brother, whom they had been searching for throughout their journey. The revelation of his existence adds another layer of complexity to the narrative, deepening the wounds and secrets that have haunted the family for years.

Ultimately, Incendies explores the cyclical nature of violence and the power of forgiveness. The film raises profound questions about the capacity for humanity in the face of unimaginable pain and loss. It challenges the audience to confront the horrors of war, the consequences of hatred and intolerance, and the possibility of breaking free from the cycle of violence.


The conclusion of Incendies is marked by a powerful scene in which Jeanne and Simon visit their mother’s grave. It is here that the weight of their journey and the magnitude of their discoveries fully come to bear. The siblings confront the complexity of their mother’s choices and the legacy she has left behind. It is a moment of catharsis, where they are forced to reconcile their own identities with the painful truths they have unearthed.

In the final moments of the film, Jeanne and Simon find closure and a sense of redemption. They come to understand the power of forgiveness, not only for their mother but also for themselves. The film leaves us with a profound sense of hope, despite the darkness that has permeated the story. It suggests that through understanding and forgiveness, healing and transformation are possible, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable pain.

Incendies is a masterful exploration of the human condition, delving into themes of love, sacrifice, trauma, and resilience. Its conclusion lingers in the hearts and minds of the audience, challenging us to confront the complexities of our own histories and the power of forgiveness in shaping our future.

In conclusion, Incendies is a deeply moving and thought-provoking film that navigates the depths of human experience. Its conclusion is marked by powerful revelations, emotional catharsis, and a profound exploration of forgiveness and healing. Through its exceptional storytelling and exceptional performances, the film leaves a lasting impact, prompting us to reflect on the enduring power of love, the consequences of violence, and the potential for redemption.

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