The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival has completed. Reviews of some of my favorite films will appear over the next few days.
Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010. The film also won 8 Genie Awards, given by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, including Best Picture, Director, Actress, Adapted Screenplay, and Cinematography.
A pair of twins read the last will and testament of their mother, Nawal Marwan. A letter is given to Jeanne, the daughter, to present to the father of the twins. Simon is assigned another letter to give to their brother. This is how they learn that their father is still alive and that they have a brother. The deceased mother asks to be buried without a marker until the letters have been delivered. At that point, the twins will be given their own letter and a gravestone will be placed on their mother’s resting spot.
The pieces of the ancestral mystery fall in place as the movie cuts between the search for the relatives and Nawal’s past. Traveling between Québec and Palestine, the Marwan family history is beset with stirring turns that make the outcome of the story unpredictable.
Incendies is deserving of all the awards bestowed upon it. The screenplay, direction, and acting masterfully combine into an emotional success. The beautiful camerawork and craftiness of the film can easily go unnoticed as the power of the story overtakes this cinematic experience.