This film is not for the faint-hearted, based on Wajdi Mouawad’s acclaimed play of the same name, Incendies promises to take you on an emotional rollercoaster presenting many dark but important themes and messages.
We follow the journey of Canadian twins on their mission to fulfil the unexpected demands left by their Lebanese mother in her will. Presented with the task of locating a brother and a father that they did not know existed, the twins travel through Lebanon tracing their mother’s life back to the tiny Lebanese village from where she originated. Jumping through time, we see the mother in her youth and the struggles that she faced growing up during the brutal Lebanese Civil War, at a time when her Christian religion put her at odds with her passionate pro-Palestinian beliefs rooted in love.
The deeper the twins delve into their mother’s past, the more they realise that they had not really known their mother at all. Incendies holds nothing back, exposing the brutality of war and the lengths that people go to for love. Beautifully capturing the dynamics of families from worlds apart, from huge Lebanese families in alienated, dusty towns, to the tumultuous relationship between two Canadian twins, Incendies demonstrates how some ties can cross cultures and borders. As all the different branches of the story come together, the unpredictable ending will leave you feeling shocked and saddened, but comforted by an element of resolve.
This predominantly French-language film uses a minimalist approach in terms of the music and cinematography, leaving you just with the raw experience of the riveting plot and dialogues. The stunning but stark Lebanese countryside, mixed with the muted greys of the Canadian city provided the perfect settings to create an atmosphere of vulnerability but yet quiet strength of the three main characters. Overall, this film is a tragically beautiful creation; a must see for those emotionally-prepared to deal with such turmoil.
‘Incendies’ is being shown in the Zawya Cinema with subtitles in Arabic and English as part of the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF) on the 3rd of April at 9.30pm. For more information and to find out about all the other amazing performances and exhibitions going on, check out D-CAF’s schedule here, find them on Facebook here and follow them on Instagram @dcafegypt .