Monday, June 04, 2012

Women tame men engaging in local religious wars in Lebanon's "Where Do We Go Now?"

A film by Nadine Lebaki, “Where Do We Go Now?” (in French, “Et maintenant, on va ou?” or, in Arabic, “w’ halla la’ wayn”), from Sony Pictures Classics, presents, as a musical comedy (with a dark side) the idea that women tame men. Specifically, in a Lebanese village isolated by land mines and one narrow bridge, the women conspire to keep the Christian and Muslim men away from each other’s throats after some incidents.  They’re not always successful, and there is tragedy when an Arab teen Nassim (Kevin Abboud), one of the most attractive and likable characters in the film, is shot (offstage) in a skirmish, leading to a formal funeral procession that will structure the end of the movie.

Women have even treated their husbands as kids, undermining a village radio and destroying the TV, which gets replaced by one which doesn’t work well. The story is obviously pre-Internet.  But one is left wondering, what really makes men like this tick?  Just belief?

I saw this at the Cinema Arts in Fairfax VA, in digital presentation (full widescreen). The film has been around about a month (while I’ve been on the road) and now has just one late afternoon show a day, but there was a modest crowd today, a Monday.

There are about six major musical songs, music by Khaled Mouzannar.  The director appears as the character Amale.  The film is mostly in Arabic with subtitles. 

The film won the Toronto Film Festival’s Cadillac People’s Choice award.  It also was presented at Cannes in 2011 as part of "Un certain regard”. 

Sony’s site is here.

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