For this year's Awards Night Film selection, MIFF will screen director Denis Villeneuve's Oscar-nominated (Best Foreign Language Film) Incendies. It's a dense and powerful story that revolves around two Arab-Canadian twins, Jeanne and Simon, and their quest to untangle their roots while unearthing shocking secrets about their family. In her will, their recently deceased mother requests the twins deliver two sealed letters to the father they thought had been killed in a war in the Middle East and the brother they never knew existed.
Simon, convinced his mother died a crazy woman, refuses to deliver the letters. Jeanne, however, is steadfast in honoring her mother's final wishes. But the people she encounters during her investigation decline to speak about her mother. Simon, driven by curiosity, eventually joins Jeanne in the Middle East. The two soon discover their mother once spent time in a Christian militia prison and was involved with a Muslim warlord.
The journey reveals some shocking truths, and the film's big reveal is as stunning as it is revelatory.
Part detective story, part family drama, Incendies features powerful and stunning images of a war-torn Middle East set to an enigmatic soundtrack by Radiohead. The film is never preachy, but the deep-rooted and troubled politics of the Middle East are a compelling backdrop. Incendies is masterful and emotionally stirring, leaving its mark well after it's done.