On this rainy, chilly, "is Spring ever arriving" weekend in New York City, I am advising everyone I know that if you're going to see just one movie on the "big screen" this spring, Incendies which opened yesterday in NYC is the one. SEE THIS MOVIE!
I saw it a few weeks ago at the New Directors/New Films Festival (where I photographed the director Denis Villeneuve) and have been raving about it to everyone ever since. It was Canada's entry into the Academy Awards Best Foreign Film category, which doesn't come close to describing a film set mostly within civil war ravaged Lebanon over the last 30 years, with a twisted personal story too incredible, heartbreaking and shocking to describe here.
director Denis Villeneuve with friend, in NYC last month
This is the teaser from the movie's press kit: "When notary Lebel sits down with Jeanne and Simon Marwan to read from their mother Narwal's will the twins are stunned to receive a pair of envelopes - one for the father they thought was dead and another for a brother they didn't know existed."
That's the setup which takes them and the viewer to current day Lebanon, on a gut wrenching quest through their mother's history - which by the way she never told them about back in Canada. What they find out, and how they find it out, is simply amazing. The performance by actress Lubna Azabal as the mother (pictured at the top of this post) is incredible. Expect to leave the theater totally drained.
Check out the trailer and I dare you to miss this film!
view full size here: INCENDIES TRAILER
Now if that's not enough movie for you to see this weekend, here are two more:
In Brooklyn at BAM Cinematek, they are showing a retrospective by Japanese director Kaneto Shindo. I never saw any of his films until last night, which just happened to be the director's 99th birthday. The film I saw was The Naked Island, which was made in 1960, but never released in the US till now. This film is pure cinema, made in black and white, with sound but no dialogue, starring the director's wife, the actress Nobuko Otowa. Shindo's films are being presented at BAM by Benicio Del Toro, who just happens to be a major fan of Kaneto Shindo, which should be enough to convince you to get yourself out to Brooklyn. One of the other great films they are showing this weekend is Children of Hiroshima, a fiction film, made 4 years after the bomb was dropped, also with Nobuko Otowa. No sleep till Brooklyn.
Jerry Schatzberg, Paz de la Huerta, and Benicio Del Toro last night at BAM
Not enough for you??? How about going to IFC and seeing Beautiful Darling, the documentary film about the Warhol star Candy Darling. I saw this one at last year's New Directors/New Films Festival, and it's taken a year to hit the screens. Directed by James Rasin, the story is told by Jeremiah Newton, Candy Darling's roommate and executor. There are plenty of talking head interviews, and Chloe Sevigny reads from the star's diaries. Candy Says - see this film.