I’ve just seen Denis Villeneuve’s Oscar nominated film adaptation of Wajdi Mouawad’s play Incendies.
I’m looking forward to seeing a translation of the play presented here in Toronto next week, titled Scorched.
I couldn’t miss the parallels to what we saw in the Canadian Opera Company production of Abduction from the Seraglio.
We’re again in the presence of violations and victims across generations, cultures at war, but with a quantum leap in the amount of violence. Our experience of Mozart here in Toronto that seemed to outrage the purists is like Monty Python or Mr Rogers Neighbourhood compared to what we see in the film, a retelling of the Oedipus myth in search of a happy ending to the tragedy.
This is the same Villeneuve who gave the world Blade Runner 2049, except that believe it or not, the sci-fi film is tame and gentle in comparison. If you’re easily upset by violence please don’t see this film. There are moments of unforgettable horror.
Onstage I suspect it will be easier to stomach than in a film. Yana Meerzon, in a paper discussing film & play observes that the play is perhaps more in the poetic direction while the film is more in the historical / factual direction. I have to wonder, given that there are certain mechanical differences in what film or theatre can do. There is still a great deal in the film that is ambiguous, poetic, mysterious, even with the graphic horror of some of the scenes of death and destruction. But of course I have no right to disagree, when I have not yet seen or read the play, right?
I am very curious about Mouawad’s experience of women, given that in the Mozart he makes the presentation of both women stronger and more heroic than I’ve ever seen in any other production. I won’t post that bad-ass photo of Jane Archibald again –having posted it three times already–but if you saw the production you know what I mean. He has a rare approach to women. And in Incendies too, the women are heroic, both the mother –who is legendary—and her daughter, who has more backbone than her brother.
I’m looking forward to seeing the show at the University of Toronto, beginning March 7th.