Opening 22 Mar 2012
Writing credits: Thomas Bidegain, Nadine Labaki, Rodney Al Haddid, Jihad Hojeily, Sam Mounier
Principal actors: Claude Baz Moussawbaa, Leyla Hakim, Nadine Labaki, Yvonne Maalouf, Antoinette Noufaily
It’s always interesting to have a look at a different culture and to learn about the priorities of a foreign country. Nadine Labaki is a multi-talent of the Lebanese film scene. She is a beautiful actress, script writer, film director and producer (debut film Caramel, 2008). In the Arab world she is well-known for her music videos. Her love for this genre is partly reflected in Wer weiss wohin? when the characters start singing and/or dancing as part of the action.
The film deals unconventionally with the serious theme of conflict between Christians and Muslims in a small village. A shaky peace between the two fronts is once more in danger. Heated religious arguments of the men are about to escalate into a bloody fight. The women have their difficulties too but seem to overcome different viewpoints diplomatically. Each family lost some of their sons, brothers or husbands during the drawn-out civil war. The women are tired of mourning and burying their dead in the stony graveyard outside the village. Amales’ Café is their meeting point, where they come up with an unusual and crazy plan to “tame” the men and avoid bloodshed. Included in the strategy are Ukrainian table dancers, the baking of Hash cookies and moonlight digging for weapons. The elders of the two different “enemy” religions play their own important and funny part in the game.
This tragic-comedy is about the dream of a stable peace in the Near East region and wishing for a life in harmony despite religious differences. Nadine Labaki plays Amales, who is the driving force in the plot. The village women add an authentic touch. For most of them it is the first time in front of a camera. Wer weiss wohin? is Lebanon’s Oscar entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. (Birgit Schrumpf)