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"Incendies" is French for conflagrations (or fires), but the film kept its French title in many countries, including the USA. In many countries, the title translates to "Incendies - The Woman who Sings".
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Although shot in Jordan, the Middle Eastern country in which the film takes place was deliberately left unnamed. Some viewers have noted the word "Palestine" visible on a window in Nawal's school, but the Christian-Muslim conflict would seem to imply the setting is Lebanon, the birthplace of playwright Wajdi Mouawad.
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This film won the Best Feature Film awarded by the jury at the 2011 Adelaide Film Festival. Director Denis Villeneuve responded by saying that "As a poetic sign of gratitude to [the] Adelaide Film Festival, I'll give the name of 'Adelaide' to one of my main characters in my next film. So thank you one thousand times to [the] Adelaide Film Festival!". However Villeneuve has yet to name any of his characters Adelaide in any of his films since.
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The math problem Jeanne introduces in class is the Collatz Conjecture. The Collatz conjecture is an algorithm that produces the number 1 out of any positive integer by dividing even numbers by 2 and multiplying odd numbers by 3 and adding 1. The result will eventually produce 1. The conjecture is later allegorically reflected in the film's climax when Simon asks Jeanne whether 1 and 1 can make 1, referencing the incest inherent in their parentage. The two people Simon and Jeanne have searched for throughout the film, their father and brother, are revealed to be the same person, reinforcing the films theme that all paths lead to one. Commensurate with the Collatz conjecture, two becomes one.
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The film draws a fair amount of similarities between that and the story of Oedipus the King. Oedipus (translating to swollen foot) has kids with his mother. Nihad of May had his foot tattooed as a baby, then had kids with his mother. The plots are also similar in the way that in both stories the main characters are trying to uncover the story of their past. Oedipus tries to uncover the story of his prophecy. Jeanne and Simon are trying to uncover the story of their brother.
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