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REVIEW: 'Where Do We Go Now?

REVIEW: 'Where Do We Go Now?

REVIEW: 'Where Do We Go Now?, Flicks.co.nz

4 stars

Award-winning 'comic fable' from Nadine Labaki (Caramel) about a group of Lebanese women who use some ingenious methods to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village. Playing nationwide September 27.

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Drugs, exotic dancers, dodgy deities. This certainly isn’t your usual po-faced, worthy Middle Eastern tale. Instead, Lebanese director Labaki’s follow up to her 2007 female-empowering romantic-comedy Caramel is about as far removed from the likes of Incendies or The Kite Runner as you can get.

From a setting and start reminiscent of 1999 Bhutanese world cinema-favourite The CupWhere Do We Go Now blossoms into a kind of Lebanese equivalent of Whisky Galore or Waking Ned Devine, with plenty of belly laughs elicited from viewers as this eclectic group of women go to increasingly desperate lengths to dupe their male counterparts.

With such inventive set pieces, likeable characters and good, slightly naughty fun, it’s easy to see why it not only took home the coveted People’s Choice award at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (won in past years by the likes of The King’s SpeechSlumdog Millionaire and our own Whale Rider) but is also the third highest grossing movie in Lebanon (behind the James Cameron duo of Titanic and Avatar).

While not everything works (the musical opening and bookending Shakespearian voiceover feel a little bit forced), there are enough memorable moments and one-liners to make this one of the most entertaining slices of world cinema of the past few years.

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