Interviews & Profiles

A Canuck in Hollywood: The Films of Denis Villeneuve

Incendies (2010)

Villeneuve’s farewell (for now) to his native language came in the form of Incendies, a creeping mystery of family relations set between Montreal and an undisclosed Middle Eastern nation, where the impact of a bloody civil war echoes through multiple generations.

The script took Villeneuve five years to complete, during which time he also wrote, shot and released Polytechnique. Adapting Wajdi Mouawad’s play of the same name, Villeneuve carefully crafts the sort of twist that can only be described as a no-holds barred punch to the gut, with the fist winding up and winding up for what seems an eternity alongside some terrific performances (led by Lubna Azabal) and a beautifully haunting soundtrack, before finally being unleashed to confirm the viewer’s worst fears.

Demonstrating the now firmly established, brutally tense style of its director, Incendies quickly became Villeneuve’s breakthrough to the big time, drawing the attention of a far wider audience than his previous flicks and earning him a thoroughly deserved Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

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