Incendies [Blu-Ray] Denis Villeneuve

Incendies [Blu-Ray] Denis Villeneuve
Over the last year, I've had about eight different people ask me about Incendies: if I'd seen it, what I thought and so on. Every single one of those people followed up my acknowledgement of seeing it at TIFF with, "Did you know that it was based on a play? What I like about it is that it takes place in a mythical land, removing politics from the power of the story." It's as though each and every one of them had rehearsed the same sound bite from an urban liberal, oddly sanctimonious text book, attributing something they'd read to themselves, as though they'd thought it first, or actually "liked" that about Denis Villeneuve's impressively rendered examination of anger and the power of context. I never touched on this with any of the people, politely nodding and saying, "Yeah, I've heard that," instead of noting that when twins Jeanne (Melissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) fulfil mother Nawal's (Lubna Azabal) deathbed wishes of travelling to the Middle East to find a brother they didn't know existed, there's a lot of talk about Muslims and Christians fighting. And I'm afraid that those are politics. Regardless, this powerful mystery unfolds with masterful pacing, gradually juxtaposing Jeanne's present-day progress in the Middle East with her mother's tragic, often shocking past. Beyond the intense, devastating and intelligently rendered performances and surprising, expertly crafted story, Villeneuve's lyrical, mature and surprisingly restrained approach to the material makes this emotional journey worth travelling, even without the final jaw-dropping payoff. Even when we manage to put the puzzle pieces together ourselves, time is taken to juxtapose character reactions with the landscape, stepping away briefly for quiet reflection before wrapping up the story to contextualize early unexplained plot points. What's fascinating is that this superficial narrative structure, gradually contextualizing strange behaviours, reinforces one of the dominant themes, wherein horrifying acts and feelings are explained after the fact, making us question our strong reactions without considering the entire picture. This in itself is a worthy message that most people should take to heart. Included with the Blu-Ray is a 45-minute "Making of" supplement that discusses intentions and approach while showing an abundance of behind-the-scenes material. It's quite engrossing for a supplement. (eOne)