Like two other films I posted on in the past year, Jacques Audiard’s A PROPHET and David Michôd’s ANIMAL KINGDOM, Denis Villeneuvie’s INCENDIES is a film of epic proportions. The story follows a young French Canadian woman (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and her twin brother (Maxim Gaudette) as they investigate the past of their now-deceased Lebanese mother (Lubna Azabal), who turns out to have lived a life far more dramatic — and traumatic — than her children ever imagined.
A PROPHET recently played at my local art house, and as usual here in fly-over Ohio, my husband and I were the only people in the theatre (okay, two of five). Hey, no matter, this movie rocks. Premiering in the U.S. at Sundance in January and internationally last year at Cannes, where it was the darling of the festival, this amazing film continues to open around the world – so who cares about the Oscar it didn’t win for Best Foreign Film? It’s the gangster film you’ve been dreaming of, in that, it both adheres to and also twists the genre. You end up satisfied by the tacit narrative promises (you know, spurting blood, revenge, power structures) but also surprised by the absolutely creative turns it takes in both style and tone.