Friday, October 12th, 2012


If we believed Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s wonderfully preposterous concept that if all the villages in the Middle East were run by women there would by no conflicts or war at all.  In this delightful satirical tale she actually has us believe that in one such case, it is more than feasible, it’s actually possible.

From the opening glorious scene when a tight group of black clad women in a set choreographed march sweep through the dusty countryside until they reach the cemetery together, you are totally engaged.  This is where all their young men are buried, and some older ones too, victims of unending and seeming pointless violence. The women now break off into groups, the Christians to their side of the cemetery, and the Muslims to the other side.

The village itself is cut off from the outside world by a ring of landmines, and most of the time the two factions of the locals live happily side by side.  Especially the women who congregate most days in a cafe run by Amale a beautiful Christian widow who  is making eyes at the handsome young Muslim man who is decorating the place, when she is not egging the  women into action  Here they gossip and strategize to keep their men from fighting.  They succeed for the most, but in the fragile peace it doesn’t take much to kick-start the hot-heads into losing their tempers.  When a trouble maker sends goats into the Mosque the response is to secretly fill the Font in the church with chicken blood, and then the two religious factions in the village are at each other’s throats once more.

The women almost in despair, come up with the crazy idea of importing a group of Ukrainian Hookers from a nearby big city in the hope that all their menfolk will be dazzled by their beauty (and their flesh!) and that the girls will help them come to realize that all men are the same (!) regardless of who they worship.

The plan has a real chance of working but then one of the young men is killed in an accident outside of the village and the distraught mother and female neighbors hide the body so as not to give the men an excuse to get back to killing each other.  They know the truth will out eventually and so they concoct the most ridiculous scheme to deal with this ……. that is both wonderfully funny …. and actually works.

What makes it works is the enchanting group of women with their heartwarming camaraderie that Miss Labaki has gathered together to make this totally captivating wee crowd pleaser of a movie that won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Miss Labaki who’s previous movie was the equally wonderful ‘Caramel’ wrote, directed and also plays Amale : so a real labor of love for her.  

It won’t solve the crisis in Lebanon, or give us World Peace, but for almost 2 hours it will make us pretend that it is actually possible.


Posted by queerguru  at  22:48



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