Where Do We Go Now? (2011), Nadine Labaki

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Directed by Nadine Labaki, “Where Do We Go Now?”, was chosen to represent Lebanon at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. It’s a story about how the women of a village choose to take matters into their own hands and prevent any fighting between the Christian and Muslim men. It sounds like could be an incredibly serious film, but surprisingly it is not.

The film starts out focusing on the a young boy, Roukoz. His job was to be the cool guy and venture out of town to collect all the little things that was needed, whether it was batteries or soap (what be it), his cousin came with him most days. The two boys live together, I believe it was because Roukoz lost him dad at a young age.

One day, Roukoz tries fixing the speakers in his church and he accidentally falls off the ladder. In the process, he ends up falling into a cross and snapping it in half. THIS IS WHAT STARTS EVERYTHING. Being boys. they decided not to tell anyone and the following day, as the congregation gathers- They notice that the cross is of course, broken. The priest takes this as a positive sign from the heavens that the church needs to be fixed up and the cross was probably broken by a bit of wind. But of course, independent thought lead some to believe that it might have been members of the Muslim community and they took an equal reaction.

And here we go, back and forth. You have growing aggressions from both sides, and pushing that mentality that men “only want to fight” and the ladies in this story, “only want peace”. So while things are slowly brewing up, the ladies hatch a plan to invite some Ukrainian dancers to their town to distract the men from the politics and religion aspect and reunite them that they all have a common joy of thinking through their penis.

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And it worked for the most part, the men were distracted. Things were going well- until someone was killed (I won’t say who), while travelling outside the village. It was a huge blow, but like everything, it was connected to the religion card. Tension was yet again growing in the village, and for fear that the men would act out during the funeral of one of their own, the ladies hatch yet another plan.

They would make a bunch of sweets and drug the whole bunch of them. Following that, they would then steal all the weapons they could fine in town and hide them in a ultra secret location. Hopefully preventing any violence before or after the funeral.

And honestly, that was that.

The movie was weird, in the sense that it felt bipolar. I didn’t know whether it was a happy-go-lucky film, *(the created notion that women could solve their problem with religion on a very primal level of Ukrainian dancers) or darker, with the aspects of negativity of religion and death being something that reigned over you for the entirety of it.

You also had Nadine’s role in the film. Now, don’t get me wrong- I’ve always enjoyed the movies she’s made. But I definitely feel like she type casts her self, and then makes her character the star of the film, rather than the story it self (if that makes sense). I think it’s funny that it’s always her solo character that has to be on the official movie poster for advertising too. She’s pretty, but I would love to see if her future work could include the whole group.

That being said, this film was easy to watch. Not wholly satisfying, but enjoyable. If you feel like having a Sunday morning on the couch, drinking chai tea- this would be a “why not” choice.

3.75 STARS

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