Film review: Where Do We Go Now?

GRAEME TUCKETT
Last updated 05:00 29/09/2012
Where do we go

Where Do We Go Now? is a lighthearted tale set in a dark time for Lebanon.

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REVIEW: WHERE DO WE GO NOW?

Directed by Nadine Labaki
Starring Nadine Labaki, Leyla Fouad, Claude Msawbaa

In a remote, nameless, and entirely fictional village in war-torn Lebanon, a truce founded completely on ignorance exists between the Christian and the Muslim men.

While all around them the country tears itself apart, the men of this village live in a bubble. Minefields surround their town, and - unbeknownst to them - the women of the village, Christian and Muslim both - have conspired to make sure that no radio, television, internet, or newspaper, can reach the town. And thus, not knowing that they are supposed to hate each other, the men live contentedly and neighbourly, side by side.  That is the premise of Where Do We Go Now?, the second film from writer and director Nadine Labaki (Caramel).

I have to say, initially I was a little uneasy about a film that is set amidst the horrors of brutal sectarian violence and near civil war, but which still finds the time and impetus to slip into musical comedy and light romcom. But you know what? Where Do We Go Now? won me over.

Labaki is an intelligent director, and - being Lebanese - she knows her subject well. If she says it's OK to make light of Lebanon, via a lightweight re-reading of Aristophanes' Lysistrata, then I'm disinclined to argue. Her film is attractively shot and performed, beautifully scored, contains many moments of genuine wit, and genuine pathos, and is at least a fresh and original take on a subject that has brought out little but anger and self-righteousness in far too many of the male film makers who have turned their lens on it. If you're looking for something unique, and truly entertaining to watch over the weekend, you could do a lot worse.

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