Friday, Sept. 14, 2012

Where Do We Go Now

Oscar Nominee on DVD

By David Luhrssen
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Lebanon’s candidate for the 2012 Oscars, Where Do We Go Now, opens on a highly stylized note: the women of a remote village, Muslim and Christian and all in black, are dancing in tight choreography on their way to the graveyard. The graves of the Muslim and Christian casualties of Lebanon’s civil war are distinguished by the shape of their markers and the side of the cemetery where the sit. Likewise, the Sunni Muslim mosque and Byzantine Catholic church face each other across the road in a dusty town where the two sects had coexisted for centuries until violence flared in the 1970s. After the civil war came an uneasy peace but the village is filled with men who might take up arms again if the wrong buttons are pushed.

Directed by Nadine Labaki, Where Do We Go Now asks her countrymen a profound question: what’s next for the beautiful land sitting uncomfortably atop fault line of politics and religion. The priest and imam preach forbearance and caution against jumping to conclusions over small incidents, but their sermons fall on deaf male ears. Only the women, plotting together in their kitchens, have the good sense to dampen the warlike spirit. Whether by trickery, shaming or confrontation, they are determined to stop the bloodshed from flowing again.

With an almost Felliniesque ease, Labaki moves between comedy, tragedy, absurdity and fantasy in episodes that define individual characters and community while gently pushing the story forward. The film even includes a few musical numbers that emerge seamlessly from the plot.

Where Do We Go Now
was supposed to open in Milwaukee but the booking was cancelled. Seek it out on DVD or digital download.

 

 

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