Where Do We Go Now?
- Director:Nadine Labaki
- Cast:Leyla Hakim, Nadine Labaki, Claude Baz Moussawbaa
- Release Date:June 28, 2012
- Running time:100 minutes
- Film Worth:$15.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
It’s overambitious and uneven in places, but it’s moving and the deft use of humour is inventive and inspired.
The opening scene of Where Do We Go Now? is hypnotic. A troop of black-clad women - Christian and Muslim - are doing a kind of slow mourning dance as they walk to the village graveyard. Carrying photos of lost loved ones, they move and slap their thighs in unison, creating a rhythm. It's a stunning start, but there's an issue - it needed something at least as powerful to come afterwards.
The setting is a small Lebanese village. Edged with landmines, it's so removed from the outside world that poor TV and radio reception become a running joke. But the outside cuts into the rocky peace with news that Christians and Muslims are clashing elsewhere. Tensions are reignited in a village that has its bloody past lying in the cemetery. The village women step in - and what these women do to stop the burgeoning violence is so inspired, inventive and amusing as to be Woody Allen-worthy. Here lies the strength of this film - it's funny.
Sophomore works can be tricky, and this is an ambitious one from Lebanese director/co-writer/actress, Nadine Labaki (who here plays Amale, one of the more prominent characters in an overcrowded ensemble). Labaki had a better handle on character in her exquisite first feature, Caramel. Where Do We Go Now? is uneven in its first half, and has a sometimes awkward tendency to break into song (yes, there's more than a dash of the musical). But the last melodic foray (there's only a handful) works brilliantly, and the non-professional cast shines. When tragedy hits, the storytelling and characterisations become more focused. And as with Caramel, there is visual poetry - like the brief, wordless scene of a Muslim woman piecing together a shattered statue of The Virgin Mary. This is not as consistent as Caramel, but it's moving and entertaining. Labaki's talent remains obvious - and her best is yet to come.