INCENDIES written and directed by Denis Villeneuve, from the play by Wajdi Mouawad, with Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gaudette. An eOne release. 130 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (January 21). For movie times, theatres and trailers, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
Wajdi Mouawad’s Scorched is one of the most powerful plays of recent years, and director Denis Villeneuve’s (Polytechnique) adaptation does the story justice, even if it inevitably loses something in translation. Sometimes the suggestion of an event onstage – especially something violent – will haunt your imagination more than seeing it played out realistically.
The multi-layered mystery is set both in Canada and somewhere in the Middle East. At the reading of their mother, Nawal’s, will, twins Simon (Maxim Gaudette) and Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) are asked to find a brother they didn’t know they had and a father they have long believed dead. Their individual journeys are interwoven with flashbacks to Nawal’s (Lubna Azabal) harrowing experiences as a student activist, prisoner and survivor.
Villeneuve’s control over the material, André Turpin’s vivid cinematography, and committed performances make this modern-day Greek tragedy feel timeless.