19 October 2021

Denis Villeneuve's Incendies (2010)

(At the time of writing I've seen five films directed by the Québéquois Denis Villeneuve, and although they are all different from each other they all involve similar plot elements: an incident triggering existential crisis, and a change of psychic state at or towards the end. For this reason I include this paragraph in parenthesis in each of my comments on the five films.)

Incendies has a highly complex plot, which I'm not even going to begin to explain: suffice to say that a lawyer, whose former secretary has just died, reveals the contents of the mother's will and gives a letter each to the son and daughter: one to be given to the mother's husband, and the other to their brother. The problem is that neither son nor daughter knew that they had a living father, or that they had another brother at all. This is an at times violent film in which we see the quest of a mother for a son, and then the quest of a daughter (later a son too) for a brother. It's also a story of torture and rape, of unknown incest, where a torturer becomes a father to twins: the son and the daughter. By far the best Denis Villeneuve film I've seen.

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