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Since debuting at last year's Telluride Film Festival, the Canadian epic family tragedy "Incendies" went on to slay audiences at several of the world's top film festivals, culminating in a Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. It lost to Denmark's "In a Better World," but don't count this one out.
"Incendies" begins with a killer scene: Twins Jeanne and Simon are presented their mother Narwal's will following her death. The document requests that they each deliver separate sealed envelopes to their father and brother. Problem is, their father passed away years earlier during the war in the Middle East and they have no knowledge of another sibling.
The film then sets out on one epic journey that hops between the Middle East and Montreal, in which the mother's complicated war-torn past is revealed and the twins' questions are answered.
Based on the play of the same name by Wajdi Mouawad and masterfully directed by Quebecois Denis Villeneuve, "Incendies" wallows in gloom and doom. Narwal's back story isn't a pleasant one, and once the twins embark on their quest for the truth, Narwal takes center stage through a series of increasingly devastating flashbacks that lead to one helluva secret.
While the climatic revelation is sure to leave you talking for days (it's that shocking), so is the film. Boasting sterling performances from the entire cast, vivid use of locations, unrelenting momentum despite its long running time, and a soundtrack that includes Radiohead's haunting "You and Whose Army?," "Incendies" feels vital and fresh.
Trust us when we say, you don't want to miss this one.