Lebanon's Nadine Labaki puts women in forefront

AP News
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Posted: May 19, 2011 2:27 PM
Lebanon's Nadine Labaki puts women in forefront

Lebanese director-actress Nadine Labaki proves all those who insist there are no strong female voices in the Arab world wrong with "Where Do We Go Now," a film that fairly shouts its feminist message from the rooftops.

Set in a remote village where the church and the mosque stand side by side, the film follows the wily antics of the women folk to keep the village's hotheaded men from starting a war of religion.

The problems start, as problems are wont to do, with TV.

When local teens install an antenna, the nightly newscasts pluck the village from its isolation and fill them in on the sectarian strife that's flared up in other parts of the country.

Women of both confessions, heartsick over sons, husbands and fathers lost to previous flare-ups of religious violence, unite to carry out clever ruses to distract their men, from faking a miracle to hiring a troop of Ukrainian strippers.

Labaki, who also stars in the film, throws in several other subplots for good measure. And if that weren't enough, there are a handful of old school musical-style song-and-dance numbers.

The film, Labaki's second feature after 2007's 'Caramel,' is touching and laugh-out-loud funny in equal measures.

It is one of 19 movies in the Cannes Film Festival's "Un Certain Regard" secondary competition.