Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where do we go now? Et maintenant on va où? (original title)

My foreign language film fix. Just under two hours, Where Do We Go Now? opens with women dressed all in black, swaying in a cemetery, beating their chests and banded together. In this small Lebanese village cemetery where the Muslims are buried on one side, the Christians on the other, these women bury their sons and husbands in the name of religious strife.

Although they may be buried on opposite sides in the graveyard, in this unnamed village, these two religions have coexisted peacefully side-by-side since time immortal. And why not? They all love, they laugh, they eat and together they plan weddings. However, when the Mayors wife introduces a TV (a hilarious scene that makes you appreciate modern ways), the men soon recognize their religious tensions and consequent unrest.

Desperate to keep peace in their village, the women, fed up with wearing black, need a miracle. As Amale shouts at the men, “Do you think we exist to mourn you?”

How they keep the men happy is at the heart of this Lebanese language gem (subtitles in English). Putting their Muslim and Christian female heads together, they come up with some winning and not so winning solutions. The scene with the hired Ukrainian female dancers getting off the broken down bus is not to be forgotten. Ah, but the scene where the women bake for the men before the town meeting is full of heart, song, hope-and female wiles!

At times comedy, musical, drama and tragedy, Where Do We Go Now? is directed and produced by the young and talented Nadine Labaki, who also stars as Amale, a Christian woman who fancies the Muslim decorator, Rabih. This film is the third highest grossing film in Lebanon and won the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011. It is not to be missed by foreign film fans, lovers of indie flicks and those who know women don’t start wars.

Other great foreign additions to checkout at VBPL include Monsieur Lazhar (Canada) and Footnote (Israel).

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