“I’m always looking for this unexpected moment of truth,” says Nadine Labaki, director of the drama Where Do We Go Now? “And in order to have this unexpected moment you have to be open to creating unexpected things, and doing things you are not supposed to do.”
The quote was in reference to the Lebanese filmmaker’s use of non-professional actors for her narrative, which takes place in a village where Christian and Muslims try to peacefully coexist. The women of the village (Labaki is also a co-star) do everything in their power to keep their environment safe, but it’s the machismo, pride, and temper of the men which leads to tragedy. Labaki’s story isn’t all doom and gloom, however, as she mixes comedy and even a dreamlike musical number into the proceedings.
“The film, first of all, needed to be like a fable,” adds Labaki. “It’s not a film about conflicts between Christians and Muslims, it’s a conflict between people in general. It could have been between two races, or two families, or two friends. I needed it to be more universal, so the fable treatment did that. In order for it to be a fable, I needed to have musical numbers (for the viewers) to know what the rules of the game are.”
Where Do We Go Now?, which received the audience award at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, is Labaki’s second film (her first effort, Caramel, was a runaway hit in Lebanon). Even with her growing international acclaim, she elaborates on the difficulties of getting a film made, calling the process a “battlefield.” Click on the audio player to hear Labaki:
Where Do We Go Now? (PG-13, 110 minutes), co-starring Julian Farhat and Leyla Hakim, is now playing in select theaters.
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posted by Greg Srisavasdi: (Twitter: @gsrisavasdi )