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Incendies (2010) - Denis Villeneuve

What is life, in contrast to never having one, when the living of it, in all its time-bound realms, is excused as fate? The word ‘generation’ marks a period in which a whole life is contained. A life’s share of the universe, catastrophes, upheavals, and profound sensibilities. But is a generation enough to epitomize a political and religious revolution? This film explores the depths of fulfilling such a prophecy.

Incendies builds an emotional, visceral, and cerebral world. The film manifests what I’d like to think of as the psychosis of a vision and the justification of freedom. The constant stirring of time in a pot uninhibited by its fantasies. As a result, you see the life of Nawal through the lens of her children’s incomplete memories of their mother.

The story is gripping and embracive. The film feels like a time machine taking you back and forth - stopping time, quickening it, reversing it - only to fit the cryptic capacity of Denis Villeneuve’s magnetic story. The choice of background score is profound and deeply disturbing. Nothing that feels out of place in a setting as intense and restless.

Some stories are narrated beyond words. But they can be heard as intimately as the pounding of one’s own heart. And the memories of Nawal, the life of her children, and the crux of this film are parts of them. They grab you by the throat and never let go.


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