Monday, October 21, 2013

Incendies: I Want To Recommend It (But to Who?), Powerful Intro and McGuffin

I just watched the movie Incendies - a 2010 film, nominated for an Academy Award film in 2011 for best foreign language film (from Canada, film is in Arabic and French).

I have so many thoughts on this unique film that takes some unique turns as it tells the story of two young adult children (twins) who are confronted with the truth of their mother's past when she dies - leading them to her homeland in a place resembling Lebanon.

Here are some quick spoiler-free thoughts.

I Want To Recommend It (But to Who?)
This is the type of film that you want to talk to someone about after they see. It's also a little off the map for most typical viewers (not a lot of people picking this up at Redbox, if you know what I mean).

But the question I have is, who would I recommend it to. The film is smart, heavy, foreign and intense. It's heaviness and intensity doesn't mean it's inappropriate -- they film is pretty sensitive in it's handling of heavy content in the sense that it's not overly profain and doesn't have overly sexed content. Yet for a film set up with a thriller-like format, it's has a heavy feel with heavy themes (like fighting between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East, among other themes).

If you want to give something off the map for you a try, and haven't watched this - I recommend you settle in for this film and give it a chance. Director Denis Villenueve did something very special with this film.

A Powerful Intro...
So I've mentioned, I don't really want to give away any of the plot points, so instead, I figured I would talk about the intro. Here is a clip of the intro which uses Radiohead's song "You and Whose Army?" In a remarkably powerful way.

Consider this a preview of the film.

... Followed by a McGuffin

A McGuffin is defined as an object or device in a movie or book that serves merely as a trigger for the plot. This film has a mighty good McGuffin that plays out fantastically in the film. Since I'm try not to overly explain the plot so that I don't steal it's unwrapping for you I will share the initial McGuffin (that quickly follows the opening sequence above).

An immigrant woman dies. Her long-time boss, a public notary, is administering her will in which she splits her wealth, lays out some strong request in how she wants be buried. Her burial request is very undignified, including no headstone until her children fulfill her last request which is to deliver to letters. Her daughter is to take a letter to her father (a man she doesn't know or know anything about, including his name). Her son is to take a letter to their brother, a brother than neither of the twins know about either. A crazy request, that triggers the quest.

And with that it begins, and the powerful film unfolds. Is this film for you? I don't know - but if you're at all intrigued. Get your hand on this film.

This film is one of the top 250 films I had not yet seen - so glad to have seen it!