Where Do We Go Now?

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Where Do We Go Now?
Where do we go now - poster.jpg
Poster used in Cannes 2011
Directed byNadine Labaki
Produced byAnne-Dominique Toussaint
Written by
Music byKhaled Mouzanar Lyrics by Tania Saleh
CinematographyChristophe Offenstein Stills by Sam Nessim
Distributed byLes Films des Tournelles
Release date
  • 16 May 2011 (2011-05-16) (Cannes)
  • 22 September 2011 (2011-09-22) (Lebanon)
  • 11 May 2012 (2012-05-11) (USA)
Running time
110 minutes
Budget$6.7 million[2]
Box office$21 million[3]

Where Do We Go Now? (Arabic: وهلأ لوين؟w halla' la wayn, French: Et maintenant, on va où) is a 2011 Lebanese film directed by Nadine Labaki. The film premiered during the 2011 Cannes Film Festival as part of Un Certain Regard .[4] The film was selected to represent Lebanon for the 84th Academy Awards,[5][6] but it did not make the final shortlist.[7] The film won the People's Choice Award at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.[8] It was the highest-grossing Lebanese film, and the highest-grossing Arabic film,[9] earning $21 million worldwide,[3] up until it was surpassed by Labaki's later film Capernaum (2018).


Where Do We Go Now? tells the story of a remote, isolated unnamed Lebanese village inhabited by both Muslims and Christians. The village is surrounded by landmines and only accessible by a small bridge. As civil strife engulfs the country, the women in the village try, by various means and with varying success, to keep their men in the dark, sabotaging the village radio, then destroying the village TV.

The story begins with a boy named Roukoz, whose job – along with his cousin, Nassim – is to venture outside the village and bring back much-needed merchandise such as soap, utensils, newspapers, light bulbs. Roukoz lives with Nassim's family, and it is made clear that Nassim has lost his father. Roukoz tries to fix the church speakers, and falls off his ladder, crashing into the cross and snapping it in half. Other characters include the village mayor and his wife Yvonne (Christians), the cafe-owner Amal (played by Nadine Labaki), Rabih (the village painter and Amal's love interest) and his sister, Issam (Nassim's brother) and his wife Aida, and the village priest and the village imam. The next day, the congregation is gathered in church to celebrate the Sunday mass. The priest preaches about the need to fix the church, and blames the broken cross on the wind, telling churchgoers to keep their cool and that their fellow Muslims have nothing to do with it. Some time later the imam discovers that some goats have found their way into the mosque, and urges the Muslims not to blame the Christians for what had happened. As people start to gather, however, a Muslim man blames the Christians for what has happened and a small fight ensues.

The village is slowly drawn into greater violence, but the women get along beautifully and conspire together to keep their men from fighting, even hiring Ukrainian dancers to entertain their men. But as Nassim is killed in a skirmish between Christians and Muslims while on an errand in a nearby town, the women are faced with a real test of wills. In an attempt to control the situation, they drug the men by mixing hashish inside sweet pastries and remove their weapons from the village. When the men wake up, they find all the Christian women dressed in Muslim attire, and vice versa, essentially challenging their husbands and sons to hit them first if they want sectarian violence. Nassim's funeral then goes peacefully, and the movie ends with the men looking to the women for direction.


  • Nadine Labaki as Amale
  • Claude Baz Moussawbaa as Takla
  • Layla Hakim as Afaf
  • Antoinette Noufily as Saydeh
  • Yvonne Maalouf as Yvonne
  • Saseen Kawzally as Issam
  • Adel Karam as the bus driver
  • Mustapha Sakka as Hammoudi
  • Mustapha El Masri as Hanna


The shooting of Where Do We Go Now? lasted for 2 months from 18 October until 18 December 2010.[10] Khaled Mouzanar, Labaki's husband, composed the music for the film. Tania Saleh wrote the lyrics to all the songs in the film. The movie was released in Cannes in May 2011.

Sam Nessim, who helped co-write the film with Labaki, shot the initial stills for the film and was set to be the director of photography at only 18 years old, but he was not available during the months of production due to school, so Christophe Offenstein stepped in.

The film was shot in Taybeh, a village near Baalbek, because the town contains a church neighboring a mosque. Other towns were used during the shooting, including Meshmesh, Douma, and Jeita's Church Al-Saydeh.


The film was part of the official selection at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard parallel competition.[11][12] The film was released on 14 September 2011 in France and 22 September 2011 in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Critical reception[edit]

The New York Times compared the story to Aristophanes' Lysistrata.[13] The Australian, however, said it did not go as far as Lysistrata.[14]

The Guardian criticised the premise that should women in the Middle East be empowered, conflict would not exist.[15] The Globe and Mail dismissed its inability to offer real solutions to the sectarian strife.[16] America said Labaki drew on her Maronite upbringing to go beyond feminism and make allusions to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a rallying force for the women in the film.[17]

The Detroit News said it was disorienting and disjointed.[18] Similarly, The San Francisco Gate said the film was "undone by its ungainly mix of heavy-handed comedy and melodrama".[19]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The film's credits; Layla Hakim web references
  2. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (November 5, 2010), Nadine Labaki is ready to 'Go', Variety, retrieved 2013-10-15
  3. ^ a b "Lebanese filmmakers' movie 'Capharnaum' wins Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival". The Arab American News. 25 May 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 2011-04-14.
  5. ^ Punter, Jennie (9 September 2011). "Lebanon picks Labaki pic for Oscars". Variety. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  6. ^ "63 Countries Vie for 2011 Foreign Language Film Oscar". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  7. ^ "9 Foreign Language Films Vie for Oscar". Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  8. ^ "The people’s surprise at TIFF". Toronto Star, September 18, 2011.
  9. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (11 May 2018). "'Capernaum' Director Nadine Labaki Signs With CAA". Deadline. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  10. ^ "tournelles", News from les tournelles
  11. ^ http://www.festival-cannes.fr/assets/File/Web/DOSSIERPRESSE2011/DP%20ANG.pdf
  12. ^ http://www.festival-cannes.fr/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/11169647/year/2011.html
  13. ^ Stephen Holden, Midwives to a Peace Process, Where Church and Mosque Coexist, The New York Times, May 10, 2012
  14. ^ Evan Williams, Nadine Labaki seeks to make love, not war in Where Do We Go Now? , The Australian, June 30, 2012
  15. ^ Catherine Shoard, Where Do We Go Now? – review, The Guardian, 21 June 2012
  16. ^ Rick Groen, What to do when war breaks out? Bring on the strippers, The Globe and Mail, May 25, 2012
  17. ^ Victor Stepien, It Takes a Village: A parable of Middle East peace, America, August 13, 2012
  18. ^ Tim Long, Review: Ambitious film on Mideast is dizzying journey, The Detroit News, June 22, 2012
  19. ^ Walter Addiego, [1], The San Francisco Gate, May 18, 2012
  20. ^ Hopewell, John (21 May 2011), 'Le Havre' win top Fipresci crits' award, retrieved 2013-10-15
  21. ^ "Ecuminal Jury", Ecumenical Jury – Press Release 2011 (PDF)
  22. ^ http://www.sansebastianfestival.com/in/pagina.php?ap=3&id=2042
  23. ^ http://www.rtbf.be/info/regions/detail_fiff-le-bayard-d-or-du-meilleur-film-est-decerne-a-et-maintenant-on-va-ou?id=6879213
  24. ^ http://www.filmfrasor.no/en/news/2011/10/pricewinners.html
  25. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (30 October 2011). "Trio of pics top Doha Tribeca". Variety.

External links[edit]