ABU DHABI // Denis Villeneuve was nervous as the film chosen to represent Canada's foreign language entry to the Oscars was screened for the first time in the region at Emirates Palace last night.
His film Incendies is the story of twins who on their mother's death uncover a family mystery - in a fictional Middle East country beset with violence.
"There are details in there that only Arabic speakers will pick up on," he said, referring to the Arabic dialect he chose for the actors. "It is a Jordanian-Syrian blend which will work for everyone else in the world except for the Lebanese. I am totally open to any kind of reaction, positive or negative."
The film, which won best Canadian feature at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, is one of 80 films which will be narrowed down to five by the end of the year by the Oscars foreign language film award committee.
Although it is the fourth time Villeneuve has represented his country for this award, he said this is his best time of being chosen: "It has been well received and is being distributed by a good American distributor."