Incendies

Incendies ★★★★½

So Villeneuve made Polytechnique, this, and Prisoners in a three movie stretch? That's some intensity right there.

It was fascinating watching Lubna Azabal carry this movie as, most often, the object of observation rather than the observer. Her children are following the wake she left through her life; it seems to me significant that early on, in the only scene they really share together, she's unable to speak. All we've got left is the testimony of those who knew her, and that is enough. She's such an expressive actress, and her performance -- covering decades of a woman's life -- is beautiful.

As with Polytechnique, the movie lives in the implied details. This is certainly a movie you want to watch cold, although I think a rewatch will prove fruitful, so here's a small example. At one point in the movie, three men walk out of a building through a metal detector. It beeps for two of them, and certainly it must have beeped for them when they entered. Nobody looks up; nobody cares. That's all we ever need to know about who they are.

Villeneuve is a deeply observational director, but he knows how to let us share the pain of his subjects. It's never abstracted.

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