FILM REVIEW: WHERE DO WE GO NOW (2011) | DIR. NADINE LABAKI
By Salima Odeh
Set in a small Lebanese village against the backdrop of a civil war, Labaki’s most recent feature explores the life of a society on the very verges of coexistence.
Both the Christians and Muslims of the village lead almost identical lives and while they would otherwise get on, the influence of war and politics embeds separation and pushes the relationship between them to its limits.
Fuelled by her recent venture into motherhood, Labaki’s film suggests that women -the mothers, sisters and daughters- are those who are left paying the price for this sectarian violence. In a bid to bring this cyclical issue to the foreground the question ‘where do we go from here?’ is posed. Whilst no definitive answer is delivered, suggestions are made and the forum for discussion is opened.
Throughout the film we witness the plight of the women as it is brought to the fore. Their cunning, however, is not to be underestimated when all the women of the village join forces and take it upon themselves to salvage what is left of the community and its future. From visual distractions and miracles to intoxicated bakery, the women try everything in their power to diffuse the volatile situation.
Labaki’s use of non-actors, catchectic sounds and images, and picturesque cinematography transports the viewer into the film’s realm. By use of music, dance, comedy and tragedy we are taken on an emotional journey through the village’s trials and tribulations. This beautifully engineered masterpiece brings serious yet sensitive issues to the forefront in a subtle and inoffensive way.
Where Do We Go Now? is being screened as part of the 2012 London Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Click here for details.