Thursday, March 10, 2011


Movie is so good that here is another of the Chaos Says, Storyteller Says series.


A powerful movie centered in the story of Nawal Marwan, a woman that sends her children on a quest that will confront them with a past filled with pain. It couldn’t have been more fitting that I had the chance to watch this movie just a few hours after reading about the lives of women as Egyptian writer and activist Nawal El Saadawi or Cambodian author and human rights advocate Somaly Mam. It seems to me that wherever and whenever life is hard, it’s always harder for women, and still they seem to endure it with a level of heroism and determination that is amazing and touching.

Denis Villeneuve movie is an adaptation of Wajdi Mouawad's acclaimed play, and the Canadian director does a great job at it. There is nothing in this movie that is superfluous or out of place, and it turns into an elegant and poetic work of art.

Very good casting with a magnificent Lubna Azabal as Nawal and Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin also giving us a touching performance as her daughter.

Some say that the story is too farfetched, but personally I think that it’s just too difficult for us to accept it as something that can happen. I have seen things happen in real life that I would not believe in if I saw them in a movie, but still they happened. In this case, the more I think about the movie and about what goes around in many places where war is a reality for decades, the more believable it seems to me.

In my opinion, this is a movie about redemption, about a woman who tries to save her soul by forcing her children to face her life and then hopes that they will choose to forgive her because it is easier to choose love and forgiveness than to live with hate in their hearts.

I’m afraid you will have to watch the movie to understand what I’m saying and maybe you will not agree with me…either way, I absolutely recommend you do not miss this movie that brought some viewers to tears and gave me reason for hours of conversation.

Green light!


I was so looking forward to watch this Denis Villeneuve film that I expected to be as good if not superior to extraordinary Polytechnique. I was not disappointed at all as film has a strong story developed with what seems is becoming Villeneuve style where he crafts tension to make watching his films very, but very intense. As in Polytechnique I watched this movie in one long prolonged breath of air and when the climax arrives I almost chocked (have a terrible cold) as I was strongly surprised and shocked by the last scenes in this modern tragedy that absolutely recalls some Greek tragedies.

After watching film is hard to believe that is based on a successful and honored play with the same name by Wajdi Mouawad as Villeneuve storytelling evolves so fluid that in my ignorance certainly believed script co written by Villeneuve was based on fiction, on a novel. Story is set in an unnamed Middle East country, but more interesting is to learn that Mouawad play was inspired in the story of a woman, Souha Béchara, that was imprisoned in Lebanon for ten years, six of each in a solitaire cell which surely is what makes story so credible and impactful; yet is Villeneuve’s excellent cinematic adaptation what makes film and story so intense.

Performances are truly extraordinary with special mention to Lubna Azabal that created an intense Nawal Marwan that with sights as well as with face and body expression told absolutely everything that character was living or thinking. Same goes to Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin that plays Jeanne Marwan, Nawal’s daughter, which goes from the stern mathematician mind to a state of confusion and pain as she starts to learn her mother story.

Story is about Nawal’s last will that will take her twin son and daughter into discovering her story before coming to Canada and in consequence, they will also learn their own story. Won’t tell you more as story is so good and unexpected at critical points that whatever you read could spoil for you the tension building and the numerous shocks you will get, so try to avoid reading spoilers to enjoy it better.

I found Polytechnique very visual, but I found Incendies more narrative oriented or maybe is because narrative becomes so tense that well-crafted landscapes and great indoors compositions become secondary, but is noted that film has top notch tech specs with very special mention to editing that so successfully intertwined Nawal’s and Jeanne’s stories occurring at the same places, amazing and definitively a technique that allows viewer to faster and flawlessly integrate past and present stories.

Definitively Denis Villeneuve is a great filmmaker and extraordinary storyteller as for me he has become the director to follow closely, especially when he does stories that are not easy to tell, not easy to watch and makes them into true cinematic magnificent experiences that are ‘enjoyable’ to watch but most of all that give lots of food for thought about women issues. Maybe is just a coincidence but both Polytechnique and Incendies are excellent examples of timeless women issues consequently strongly and especially recommend both films (if you haven’t seen the first) to all women in the world, but this is a film that I know most adult audiences will highly appreciate.

As we know film was in the five Oscar nominated films for the Best Foreign Language film and was Canada’s submission; even if haven’t done the post (the cold is killing me) I know that film won eight awards at the 2011 Genie Awards, we can’t forget that premiered at 2010 Biennale fest at the Giornate degli Autore were won the Best Film award in the 27 Times Cinema Mention section, since then has collected many awards and honors all over the world.

Not a story to love but definitively a well-crafted film that everyone should watch thinking that what we see here in an unnamed country, has happened, is happening and unfortunately will continue to happen all over the world.


Watch trailer @MOC

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