In Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s refreshingly optimistic fable, Where Do We Go Now? the women in a small, unnamed village in the Middle East come up with unique and imaginative ways to stop their men from killing each other.
Nervous that news of war in the outside world might strain the uneasy peace between Christian and Muslim men in their village, the womenfolk try everything from burning newspapers to sabotaging their sole television connection. When this fails, they even hire Ukranian strippers, and spike their husbands’ meals with hash to distract them from their violent intentions.
Labaki knows her characters inside out, and draws charming performances from her ensemble cast, particularly from the group of women (one of whom she plays herself) who’re at the heart of this film. The dialogue is deliciously witty, and Labaki uses music and dance, and at one point even a dream sequence to keep things light and frothy.
When an innocent young boy from the village is accidentally killed, Labaki reveals her ace — a radical step the women resort to in order to prevent a full-blown religious war.
Some critics have argued that Labaki’s solutions for the Middle East situation are naive and silly. But this being a satire, I think she offers an original, feminist perspective on an issue that’s usually dominated by male voices.
Where Do We Go Now? is a clever film that makes you smile, yet never lets you forget the tragedy of its subject matter.