Since the oscar season is upon us, I remembered last year's winner of Academy award, Hævnen (In a Better World). I have a feeling that this year's winner will be A Separation, which also won the golden globe for foreign language film. I can't say I would particularly like that but I am yet to see the rest of the nominees. More about A Separation later.
I will focus on the movie that in my opinion should have won last year. Incendies is a joint effort of Canada and France. Set in the Middle East, in a country that looks very much like Lebanon, where twins Jeanne and Simon are trying to heed to their mother's last wish (or will). Nawal was never a really warm, loving mother and their father died a long time ago, they never even knew him. When their mother suffers a stroke and dies, they are left with two envelopes. One they must give to their brother, whom they never even knew they had, and the other to their father, who according to their mother is still alive. Confused and angry they at first deny going on such a trip, especially Simon is adamant not to do anything of the sorts. But as Jeanne decides to follow her mother's footsteps and try to uncover the story that shaped her mother into the person she was, she discovers details, twists, plots and stories she never even heard of. At a particularly difficult moment she calls her brother for support. And that is the most that I can reveal. Nawal's life is shocking in itself, surprising, painful and resilient. The things that you find out as her children follow from one lead to another, digging deep into the roots of best hidden details of a war-stricken country, will move you, shake you and stun you.
"Sometimes it's better not to know."
The story is believable, the acting moving and truthful and the movie beautiful. There was not a second of it that I didn't enjoy or wonder what happens next. The truth can be waiting behind the corner but often we need a long time to find it and just like life, the journey is that matters. And more than anything else, sometimes we never know the people in our life, at all. Nawal's story explains so much of her attitude and so much of the person she was that without it, anyone would simply think that she was mean, cruel, cold and emotionless.
Should have won an oscar. Seriously.
Death is never the end of the story.