Ajyal Film Festival 2023

All Films

Incendies (Incendies)

World Panorama

Denis Villeneuve / Feature Narrative / Canada, France / 2010 / 130 min / Color / 35 mm
In French, Arabic / English, Arabic subtitles
Interests: Adaptation, Drama, Social Issues, Middle Eastern
Qatar Premiere


Adapted from Wajdi Mouawad's acclaimed play, director Denis Villeneuve crafts an intricate and tragic cinematic epic with "Incendies". Interweaving between Montreal and the Middle East and between present day and the 1970's, the story starts at the reading of twin brother and sister Simon and Jeanne's mother's will. The lawyer-and friend of the family-reveals to them that they have a brother whom they never knew about and a father who is still alive. Their Mother, Nawal, gives them the task to find their brother and father and deliver them sealed letters. As the film cuts between the twins search and flashbacks to Nawal's difficult past, Simon and Jeanne learn about their mother's heartbreaking story and surprises about themselves. Selected as Canada's entry for foreign-language film this year-and deservingly so-Villeneuve brilliantly maneuvers the complexity of the stories with his firm control that keeps the momentum going throughout. The cast led by the powerful performance by Lubna Azabal as Nawal and Maxim Gaudette and Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin as Simon and Jeanne handle their heavy roles sensitively, allowing the viewer to connect with them even as the characters uncover their extraordinary situations. "Incendies" leaves a lasting impression far past the last frame.

About the Directors

Denis Villeneuve
Born near Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Villeneuve studied film at l'Université du Quebec à Montréal before going on to direct several award-winning videos and short films. His 2009 feature film, "Polytechnique," won nine Genie Awards in Canada, including Best Picture and Best Director. "Incendies" marks his fourth feature.


Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve
Luc Déry, Kim McCraw
Monique Dartonne
Gregroire Hetzel
Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin , Maxim Gaudette, Rémy Girard

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