Find the list here: The Top 250 Films List Total Films Watched: 250/250

Monday, 18 February 2013

#236 - 'Incendies' (2010)

"One plus one, does it make one?" - Simon Marwan.
At the opening of her will, twins Jeanne and Simon Marwan discover their mother's dying wishes. There is a letter for their brother - a brother of whose existence they had no idea - and a letter for their father. This leads them to travel to the Middle East to try and find the letters' recipients. In order to this this, they must discover as much as possible about their mother's past. Who is their brother, why was he kept from them and did he have any role in the death of their mother, Nawal?
Jeanne and Simon read their mother's will.
I'm not going to lie, for the first hour of this film I struggled to understand what was going on. It wasn't a language issue - the film is in French, subtitled in English. It was a filmic structure issue. The narrative flicked back and forth between present day and flashbacks to Nawal's life. It was difficult to follow to start with and I began to lose patience with it. The only indication of progression in the narrative was when some big red text appeared on the screen. The text was either a name or a place, but no indication of when this was occurring in the films timeline.
Younger Narwal.
I did eventually get the story and it turned out to be quite shocking. I was surprised at the twist and everything did seem to come together in the end. Which is why it's such a shame that I got so frustrated with it for the first hour or so. It's been a couple of days since watched it and looking back I can appreciate the way in which the story was told. I just didn't like it. 
Older Narwal and her daughter Jeanne.
I get the feeling that maybe I'll re-watch this some day and completely change my opinion on it. 

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