The film Incendies, written and directed by Denis VILLENEUVE and inspired by Wajdi MOUAWAD's play, opened in 2010. A Canada-France coproduction shot in Montréal and Jordan, it describes the shattering quest of a pair of twins. After the death of their mother, the boy and girl (now young adults) are handed 2 letters: one destined for their father (whom they believe dead), and the other for their brother (whose existence they are unaware of). The young woman, accompanied by their notary, leaves to begin the search in a Middle Eastern country, which is unnamed but assumed to be Lebanon. Her brother is hesitant at first, but soon joins them. A long uncertain voyage to a war-torn country follows, woven around the main theme of reconstructing the life story of their mother, a cold and distant woman. As the outcome unfolds it exposes violence and despair as well as the courage upheld by the seemingly frail but indeed very strong shoulders of the mother, Nawal.
The cast includes Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin in the role of Jeanne, Maxim Gaudette (with whom Villeneuve frequently works) as her twin brother Simon, Rémy GIRARD as the notary, and the very moving Lubna Azabal (awarded best actress at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival) as the mother.
Incendies has garnered acclaim throughout the world and been distributed in more than 30 countries. The film has won many international honours at festivals in Vienna, Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax: best audience awards, best screenplay and young jury award from the International Film Festival in Valladolid (Spain), audience prize at the Festival international du film francophone de Namur (Belgium), grand prize at the Warsaw Film Festival, and best film by the Toronto Film Critics Association. In January 2011, Incendies was an Oscar nominee in the best foreign language film category. In addition, in March 2011, the film was awarded eight GENIES for best motion picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, best actress in a leading role (Lubna Azabal), best cinematography (André Turpin), best editing (Monique Dartonne), best sound, and best sound editing. In 2011 the film won 9 JUTRA awards: best film, best director, best actress (Lubna Azabal), best screenplay, best cinematography, best art direction, best sound, best editing, and best costumes.