Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. Canada/France, 2010. micro_scope, TS Productions, Phi Group. Screenplay by Denis Villeneuve, Script consultant Valerie Beaugrand-Champagne, based on the play by Wajdi Mouawad. Cinematography by Andre Turpin. Produced by Luc Dery, Kim McGraw. Music by Gregoire Hetzel. Production Design by Andre-Line Beaupariant. Costume Design by Sophie Lefebvre. Film Editing by Monique Dartonne. Academy Awards 2010. Toronto International Film Festival 2010.
Twin brother and sister Jeanne and Simon are brought to the reading of their mother’s last will and testament and delivered a surprise: their recently deceased mother Nawal has asked that, before they bury her properly or put her name on a stone, they deliver two letters that she has left for them: one to their father, and one to their brother, neither of whom the siblings knew about. This sets off a firestorm of rage, curiousity and hope as the two travel to Palestine and begin an investigation of their mother’s life that sees the film veering back and forth, in a remarkably smooth manner, between two time periods as a fascinating story about the horrors of war plays out with incredibly fluid intensity. The acting couldn’t possibly be better, and the story is transfixing until the unforgettable conclusion.