Incendies (2010)

This oscar nominated gem, which is an extremely compelling human story and a gripping slow burn suspense thriller rolled into one, takes us on an intriguing quest of two siblings, to find their father who they believed was dead and a brother who they never knew existed, to stumble upon a startling past about their family .

Cast- Lubna Azabal, Melissa De’sormeaux, Maxim Gaudette, Remy Girard

Director- Denns Villenueuve

Based on a play- Incendies by Wajdi Mouawad


Jeanne( Melissa ) and Simon(Maxim),upon the death of their mother Nawal (Lubna),are read her will and last wishes. More shocking than the perplexing conditions their mother has dictated about her burial is the fact that they are to deliver two letters,Jeanne to her father who they thought was dead and Simon to their brother who they never knew even existed.

Jeanne embarks upon this journey to her mother’s native country in Middle East picking up threads from her mother’s past. In a non linear narrative, interspersed with her journey, are the flashbacks of Nawal’a past beginning from her small village to her university days and further.

The twin siblings put in arduous effort to join the dots and extract information about Nawal’s obscure past to know her heart wrenching tumultuous life during the civil war and some staggering revelations about their family.


Have watched two films by Dennis Villeneuve and loved both, namely Arrival and Prisoners. But I am absolutely wowed by Incendies.

It begins on a slow but very intriguing note and keeps your curiosity piqued. As the story goes forward with Nawal’s life, it not only grips you emotionally but also discreetly presents the disturbed lives and hazardous consequences of sectarian violence and futility of war. The story keeps picking  up momentum as they keep digging into her past, almost like an intense suspense thriller and when it delivers its earth shattering revelation ,it leaves you equally numb as the siblings!

I was blown away by the story telling style and screenplay.The way he has blended the format of a thriller with a human story is amazing.The way he has used the geographical expanse and landscapes is beautiful.The camera work and cinematography is splendid. Performances are absolutely great.


This gem of a film is highly recommended for film buffs who love suspenseful dramas or slow burn thrillers or films that give a peek into different cultures, places or eras.

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