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Incendies (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

4.5 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the highly-acclaimed suspense thriller Incendies, a mother's dying wish creates a painful puzzle her children are forced to solve. At the reading of their mother's will, twins Jeanne and Simon are given instructions to locate the father they believed was dead and the brother neither knew existed. They travel to the Middle East, to piece together the story of the woman who brought them into the world only to make a shocking discovery.

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This hauntingly enigmatic Canadian film and 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee unfolds backward and forward in time as a riveting, intricate mystery story. Clues are doled out gradually and often without the benefit of reason until shocking answers are unearthed in the final minutes. Set primarily in an unnamed Middle East country that is probably Lebanon, events are told in flashbacks and present-day scenes that run together without comment or overt transitions, employing a formal structure that requires us to pay constant attention to the shifts in perspective. It's a challenging task, but one that becomes enormously engrossing as the narrative weaves around itself against the backdrop of a bloody civil war and the equally damaging emotional battle of a family that is bound to a past ruled by equal parts devotion and horror. The primary characters are Nawal Marwan and her twin children Jeanne and Simon. A framing device set in Montreal where the grown twins hear a reading of their recently deceased mother's will sets up a quest that must be resolved before her body can be put to rest. They are each given sealed letters by the avuncular notary who was both their mother's employer and family friend (he also becomes pretty important to the extended plot, as do a number of other seemingly minor characters). As her last request, the mother has instructed Jeanne to deliver one letter to their father and Simon to deliver the other to their brother. Even though the twins believed their unknown father to be long dead and were unaware of the existence of a brother, Nawal's will assures them that both men are very much alive. With nothing more than the family name and a vague history of Nawal's early life in the strife-torn country where fighting between Christians and Muslims wrought a years-long bloodbath, both children get a crack at solving the mystery. The trails they follow each in their own turn are intercut with episodes from the young Nawal's journey of heartbreak, tension, and terror decades earlier. The children uncover incremental details in the same resolutely objective fashion that director Denis Villeneuve reels out others through the experiences of Nawal as she lived through her own ordeal. The script by Villeneuve was based on a play by Wajdi Mouawad, and there is a deeply resonant literary quality to the narrative that gives what might have otherwise seemed like an unlikely series of coincidences a profound sense of plausibility. An ultimate and entirely legitimate sense of destiny is revealed to all the characters that pass through the story, even in the most tangential way. The truths revealed by the surprise ending are truly devastating and completely unexpected, especially to those for whom the reality they thought they knew has been upended in ways that are unimaginable. --Ted Fry

Special Features

Commentary with Director Denis Villeneuve
Remembering the Ashes: Incendies Through Their Eyes

Product Details

  • Actors: Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Desormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette, Remy Girard, Rémy Girard
  • Directors: Denis Villeneuve
  • Producers: Luc Dery, Kim McCraw, Luc Déry
  • Format: Blu-ray, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 13, 2011
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0056NEK20
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,502 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Incendies (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 27, 2011
Format: Amazon Video
INCENDIES began as a play of the same name by Wajdi Mouawad and was opened up as only cinema can do by the author with the assistance of Canadian director Denis Villeneuve and consultant Valérie Beaugrand-Champagne. The result is a staggeringly powerful film whose story is so well revealed by a cast of sterling actors that telling too much of the plot would be a disservice to those who come to this experience for the first time. In this viewer's opinion it is simply one of the finest films of the decade and it bound to become a permanent part of the cinematic library.

The opening of the film reveals many clues as to the direction the story will take. In a stark room young boys are having their hair shorn: one of the boys as a tattoo on his heal - three aligned dots on the Achilles tendon. After this unsettling beginning the camera moves to Canada in the office of notary Jean Lebel (Rémy Girard) who has the responsibility of executing the will of his secretary Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal in an illuminating performance that plays through the entire film) and presenting the will to Nawal's Lebanese-Canadian twin children Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) Marwan. The will divides Nawal's worldly goods equally between the children, but describes in detail how the deceased mother is to be buried (naked, face down, with no coffin in an unmarked grave) and provides two letters charging Jeanne and Simon to find the father and brother they did not even know existed. The remainder of the film moves back and forth between the past and the present as the twins attempt to find their living relatives and the story of how Nawal's life was an unbelievable nightmare.
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Format: Blu-ray
I rented "Incendies" because it was a nominee for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. I've seen a lot of good films from that category and "Incendies" is one of the best. This film is not for the weak of heart. It deals with the basest of human failures and it leaves the viewer emotionally exhausted. However, the film is well worth watching for many reasons. The acting, although not outstanding, is very good. The various characters are victims of different abuses yet most of them carry an innocence that is well-displayed. There is a variety of locations and a variety of cultural settings and issues that are very engrossing, sometimes almost too engrossing. The back and forth from present to past is very well done and greatly enhances the the suspense of the movie.

The ultimate message that I took from "Incendies" was the depth to which hatred can destroy otherwise decent people. The innocence I previously mentioned about some of the characters is a key to the success of "Incendies". In a war-torn Lebanon there are good and bad but it is the innocents that make us take a personal involvement in the events that take place. What do we do with that involvement? Do we fight or flee or do we just ignore? There's not much you can ignore in "Incendies".
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Format: Blu-ray
INCENDIES began as a play of the same name by Wajdi Mouawad and was opened up as only cinema can do by the author with the assistance of Canadian director Denis Villeneuve and consultant Valérie Beaugrand-Champagne. The result is a staggeringly powerful film whose story is so well revealed by a cast of sterling actors that telling too much of the plot would be a disservice to those who come to this experience for the first time. In this viewer's opinion it is simply one of the finest films of the decade and it bound to become a permanent part of the cinematic library.

The opening of the film reveals many clues as to the direction the story will take. In a stark room young boys are having their hair shorn: one of the boys as a tattoo on his heal - three aligned dots on the Achilles tendon. After this unsettling beginning the camera moves to Canada in the office of notary Jean Lebel (Rémy Girard) who has the responsibility of executing the will of his secretary Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal in an illuminating performance that plays through the entire film) and presenting the will to Nawal's Lebanese-Canadian twin children Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) Marwan. The will divides Nawal's worldly goods equally between the children, but describes in detail how the deceased mother is to be buried (naked, face down, with no coffin in an unmarked grave) and provides two letters charging Jeanne and Simon to find the father and brother they did not even know existed. The remainder of the film moves back and forth between the past and the present as the twins attempt to find their living relatives and the story of how Nawal's life was an unbelievable nightmare.
Read more ›
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
First, don't pay attention to the reviews dating from 2004. They are NOT discussing "Incendies". Next, be sure to see it in the theater for maximum impact. There are some very emotional scenes, but very little violence, which is amazing, considering what was happening in Lebanon in the '70's.
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