The writing was all over the wall at the Kabuki theater last night that San Francisco’s 2011 International Film Festival was coming to end. Literally. The bar was closing early, the artwork was coming down, and volunteers were abuzz cleaning up the theater before the last films played.

Saying au revoir to the festival last night was really bittersweet. It was such an amazing time. Again. And the films just keep getting better every year. This year’s highlights for us included the compelling documentary, Crime After Crime, the Bonnie and Clyde-evoking Living on Love Alone, and the deeply dramatic Circumstance. Can’t stop there, though.

Add Incendies to the top of the list, the supremely intense film from Denis Villeneuve based on Wajdi Mouawad‘s play. True to its name, Incendies was a scorcher, in the best sense. . . . the kind of beautiful scorcher that the Bay Area was missing until only recently.

It is also the kind of film that will stay with you long after you leave the theater.
In Incendies, an Oscar nominee for best foreign film, Canadian twins, Jeanne and Simon, learn more about themselves and their mother after her death than they ever did during her life.

The reading of their mother’s will after her death evokes serious questions regarding not only her identity but theirs as well. It leads, and in fact, directs them to embark on an arduous and emotionally-wrought journey through a once war-torn and divided Middle Eastern country for answers that they hope will reveal their father’s and a previously unknown brother’s identities.

We’ve been asked by the festival not to give too many details about the film itself, but we’re guessing that if you were a fan of Babel or Crash, then you won’t want to miss Incendies.

You can see the film for yourself already. It opens at the Embarcadero today. Ah, film festival, we will miss you. Until 2012…

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