The tensions of the Muslim/Christian divide in Lebanon are reproduced in miniature in actor-director Nadine Labaki's (Caramel) Where Do We Go Now?; a film set in a secluded, sleepy village where landmines and the daily news reports are constant reminders of the violent struggle raging elsewhere in the country. The twist of the piece rests in yet another division in the town, that of gender. Fearing that their men are being stimulated to mirror national displays of sectarian violence, the women take it upon themselves to manufacture distractions aimed at the men to keep the town from falling into chaos.
This leads to some very hilarious results, including the hiring of a group of seductively-dressed, Russian dancing women and a cooking scene involving the use of "special" ingredients. There's also a musical sequence, a dance routine, more than a little bit of tragedy and a love story peppered throughout the film. All this furious activity leaves Where Do We Go Now? feeling a little overstuffed with subplots, making me wish that the story had been more streamlined. As it stands, the film is a wee-bit schizophrenic in tone, shifting often between scenes infused with manic energy to moments drenched in sorrow.
Having said that, much of the film is quite enjoyable. It's just ends up feeling at times like a kitchen sink (not this kind of kitchen sink) approach to storytelling. Overly cluttered in parts, but a worthy diversion, nonetheless.
Where Do We Go Now? will screen for the public at the Whitsell Auditorium on Feb. 11th at 8:30pm and at the Lake Twin Cinema on Feb. 13th at 6pm and 8:30pm.
Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here.