I promise I’m not going to spoil the movie for you so you could enjoy watching it like I did. Yes, I enjoyed the movie. Nadine Labaki got me once again. I only watched Caramel (her previous movie) last year. Back at 2007 I wasn’t much of a movies person and especially Lebanese and Arabic production. But after watching the movie, I fell in love it that I memorized it and always set the soundtrack on repeat.
In 2011, Nadine is back with a new hit movie, a movie that touches ALL Lebanese people. Caramel was mostly directed toward women, certain cases of women in the Lebanese society, but “Where Do We Go Now” or “وهلأ لوين” is directed towards Lebanese, especially those with religious labels. The story is of a village away disconnected from the rest of the world except for an old bridge that is filled with mines and barbed wires and the poor TV reception. The village is divided into two entities, the Christian and the Muslim. They are living together but on the slightest issue the village’s men are ready to fight each other. The village is protected by its women and the priest and sheikh. They strive to maintain peace by distracting the men from fighting using any measure that could come to their minds.
The movie is a direct message for people to stop fighting over silly things. People should get over these things and coexist as humans regardless of whatever their label is. The story is well written, the imagery is fascinating and the acting is so natural that you can’t but put yourself as a character in the movie. I loved the fact that Nadine doesn’t try to attract you into watching the movie by using the fame of a well-known actor. On the contrary, she uses ordinary people to deliver her message to the ordinary people who watch the movie. The only known actors in the movie were Adel Karam (who also co-starred in Caramel), Anjo Rihani (known for her roles in the comedy show in Future TV “La Youmal”) and Caroline Labaki who known for her few experiences from behind the camera in music videos (she was the costume designer too.) And as Elias Fares mentioned in his review, the movie flips you between laughter and tears. There are some intense emotional scenes especially when a young man gets killed and……. No, no, no! I promised not to spoil the movie for you. I will say that there are some emotional scenes that got me into tears for their true display of feelings and human thoughts.
Another great part of the movie is the soundtrack. Composed by Khaled Mouzanar and written by Tania Saleh(who also worked together on Caramel’s soundtrack) the soundtrack delivered another set of real emotions through lyrics, melodies and music. I went out of the theater directly to buy the CD. I was listening to it this morning while on my way to work. A song grabbed my attention (other than the very funny “Hashishet Albi”) called Yammi (Oh Mother) that accompanies the death of the young man (note to self: no spoilers!) I was listening to it in the “Serveese” and I couldn’t help hold my tear (Yes, I almost cried in the Serveese). The lyrics are so sad; it describes the state of a dead person unaware of what is going on with himself talking to his mother. And in return, his mother replies to him in very touching lyrics. Oh, I’m crying again listening to the song with this dramatic storm outside!
Enough with my melodrama! The movie gave us some good laughs as well. I heard a comment as we were leaving the theater; the story takes place in no specific location. It is Lebanon, but no specific area. The comments also related having this aspect to the Rahbani plays that also take place in a metaphorical village.
We should be proud to have Nadine! We should be proud that a Lebanese director is producing such high quality films.
I have two hopes now: one is that people might learn from Nadine’s work and competing with her and stop having fake characters whether in cinema or TV that doesn’t relate to our everyday life. Second, that people might (at least slightly) feel what Nadine is trying push forward in this movie and apply it to our lives in this small country of 18 sects.
Another thing on the side, I now feel disgusted every time I see a Lebanese series on TV and say, why can’t they look up to Nadine Labaki and try to give the audience something they really need and can relate to?
Let’s keep our hopes high and support our local productions on one condition that they are on a good level ترفعلنا راسنا.
By the way, the movie won the People’s Choice Award for best movie at the Toronto Film Festival
And the most miserable song