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Incendies’ by Denis Villeneuve Film Analysis Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Apr 29th, 2020

The Ancient Greek story about Oedipus has been reconsidered lots of times throughout centuries. Notably, people tried to come up with numerous solutions to the moral dilemma. The twenty-first century could be no exception. In her film Incendies (2010), suggests her own way to stop the violence and start a new better life. The director puts main characters of the ancient story into the modern setting and concludes that people can overcome any difficulties and move on.

The modern story is based on the plot of the ancient tragedy. Hence, there is a person who does not know who his real parents are and fathers two children after having sexual relationship with his own mother. Notably, at the beginning of the story, the main characters do not know anything about that and at the end the truth is revealed. It is possible to note that the plot is quite similar in both stories. However, the rest of characteristics of the two works are very different.

Thus, the setting of the modern tale differs greatly as Oedipus is a king of Thebes in the ancient times whereas the contemporary story is set in a country where war and violence reign. The king is glorified and loved by his people as he refers to himself as their father “famous Oedipus” (Sophocles 1). The son and the father of his mother’s children is a poor man who served as a warrior and torturer for a terroristic organization (Incendies).

Most importantly, points of views in the two stories are very different. In the first place, it is necessary to note that the protagonist in the Greek play is Oedipus (the son and the husband) while the modern story focuses on the life of the mother. Sufferings of Oedipus is central to the play and he “shouts for someone to unlock the gates / And show all Thebes the father-killer” and “then he’ll cast himself out from this land” (Sophocles 55). The film is all about the mother’s ordeal. Notably, she suffers as much as Oedipus does and she loses her ability to talk as she has a stroke. The woman in the twenty-first century understands that violence that haunted her has to be stopped. She finds the way to stop it through reconciliation with herself and her children. Notably, it is difficult to clearly see the point of view of the modern Oedipus in the film but it is clear that he came to terms with himself and his past. The modern story contains answers to the question concerning violence, reconciliation and revelation.

On balance, it is possible to note that the modern version of the ancient tragedy does not simply depict the wrongs of the society and horrors of fate. The new story offers an important answer to a serious question. It becomes clear that violence can and should be stopped. Even though people can find themselves in a difficult position due to certain circumstances, they can overcome everything.

Works Cited

Incendies. Dir. Denis Villeneuve. Toronto, Ontario: E1 Entertainment. 2010. DVD.

Sophocles. Oedipus Tyrannus. Trans. Peter Meineck and Paul Woodruff. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing, 2000. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020, April 29). Incendies' by Denis Villeneuve Film Analysis. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/incendies-by-denis-villeneuve-film-analysis/

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"Incendies' by Denis Villeneuve Film Analysis." IvyPanda, 29 Apr. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/incendies-by-denis-villeneuve-film-analysis/.

1. IvyPanda. "Incendies' by Denis Villeneuve Film Analysis." April 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/incendies-by-denis-villeneuve-film-analysis/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "Incendies' by Denis Villeneuve Film Analysis." April 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/incendies-by-denis-villeneuve-film-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Incendies' by Denis Villeneuve Film Analysis'. 29 April.

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