Saturday, November 19, 2011

100 Words On: Incendies

With so much heart-rippingly real drama in Incendies’s story of civil war in an unnamed Middle Eastern country—the wholesale slaughter and torture of civilians, honor killings, the vicious cycle of revenge that makes perpetrators of victims and vice versa, and the necessity and impossibility of forgetting the past once the battle has ended—the Chinatown-esque contrivance at its heart is just too much.
French-Canadian-born Jeanne’s investigation of her heroic immigrant mother Nawal’s past inevitably pales beside the protracted ordeal itself, but that’s partly because Nawal’s story, which is intercut in flashbacks, is a Dickensian melodrama for the 21st century.

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