SEARING FAMILY STORY: Upon her death, Nawal (Lubna Azabal) leaves her twin children a few clues to unlocking her heretofore hidden past. PHOTO BY SABRIK HAKEEM. © 2011 SONY PICTURES CLASSICS.

Incendies

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Incendies, which was nominated for last year's foreign-film Oscar and won numerous Genies (the Cana­dian equi­va­lent of the Oscars), is a disturbing layover at the crossroads of forgiveness and revenge. It's a challenging film on several levels. Not only is there a hearty helping of violence to be digested over the film's 130 minutes, but audiences must also wrestle with a complex narrative structure—complete with intercuts and flashbacks and even a few chapter headings.

The story begins in a notary's office in Canada, where two fraternal twins, Jeanne and Simon Marwan (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gau­dette), are hearing the last will and testament of their mother, Nawal (Lubna Azabal). We soon learn that Nawal was a hard-working but enigmatic woman. Each of the twins receives a sealed envelope to be delivered to a brother and a father they never knew.

 

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