COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 40min (Arabic with subtitles)
STARRING: Nadine Labaki, Julian Farhat
Remote control: Labaki
Lebanese actress and writer-director Nadine Labaki’s subsequent film to 2007’s tasty Caramel is also chatty and playful, as well, but make no mistake, it also means serious business. Set in a remote Lebanese village, Where Do We Go Now? casts the Christian–Muslim dichotomy in a freshly idealistic light, with women from both sides of the religious fence teaming up to wheedle sense into their tinderbox-tense men. Their methods are unorthodox — blow-in strippers play a part — and only intermittently effective.
Labaki plays Christian widow and café owner Amale, who pines for Muslim Rabih (Farhat), and he for her, although they go no further than mental serenades. The other characters are largely submerged in the general hubbub, but while the build-up is rough-hewn and erratic, after tensions combust the anguish is titanic. That’s when Labaki proves a dab hand at seasoning the stew: just as the boil looks set to explode, along come the ladies with another cooling and cheeky solution. It may be too rosy to be true, but it’s also too radical to resist.