Movies

Where Do We Go Now?

Where Do We Go Now? featured image

Observational, comic and decidedly humanistic, this film is funny but does pack a wallop.


Reviewed by Marc Glassman

Where Do We Go Now?

Nadine Labaki, director & co-script w/Rodney Al Haddid, Thomas Bidegain, Jihad Hojeily, Sam Mounier

Starring: Nadine Labaki (Amale), Claude Baz Moussawbaa (Takia), Leyla Hakim (Afaf), Yvonne Maalouf (Yvonne), Julian Farhat (Rabih), Kevin Abboud (Nassim), Ali Haidar (Roukoz)

 

The buzz
Nadine Labaki’s comedy-drama about relationships between Muslims and Christians in a small village in Lebanon has acquired many admirers during its international festival run. Premiering at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, it won the Francois Chalais Prize for “life affirmation” and was short-listed for the Ecumenical Prize. At TIFF, the Doha Tribeca festival and the prestigious San Sebastian festival, it won Audience Awards. It was also the official Lebanese entry and on the long list for the Oscar for best foreign film.

 

The genres
A modern variation on Aristophanes’ Lysistrata; comedy tinged with tragedy

 

The premise
Where Do We Go Now? is a film of anecdotes set in a remote village in Lebanon. There, the women—Christian and Muslim—ban together to stop their men from participating in the outbreak of religious violence that is beginning to sweep the nation.

They do everything from arguing so loudly that no one can hear when the nightly news broadcast is being shown to the village on the only intact TV to persuading a group of Ukrainian female cabaret artists to belly dance for their men. “Anything to distract the men” is their motto.

Meanwhile, Amale, the beautiful Christian bar-owner puts her budding romance with handsome Muslim worker Rabih on hold and, tragically, the death of a teen-aged boy Nassim is covered up to prevent violence from erupting.

This is a film less about endings—happy or sad—than it is about a central question: “where do we go now” in the troubled Middle East.

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