This is the question raised at the end of the film as the people of a Lebanese village, part Muslim, part Catholic, attend the funeral of one of the young people who has been killed in sectarian crossfire. They have clashed themselves but, in an attempt for peace, they join for the funeral, going into the local cemetery with the clear demarcation path between Muslim and Catholic plots. The men carrying the coffin look at the dividing line, swivel around and ask, Where do we go now?
The question pervades the film. Long traditions of clash have been partly put aside as the priest and the Imam get on well and everyone joins in celebrations and shop locally (though this is a great place for arguments as is the newly set up TV, the only one in the village where people come to sit in the open air and watch – and then squabble, and then fight. Lebanese recent history has shown a grim civil war but also attempts at peace. Is peace possible? Is it even possible to ask, ‘Give peace a chance’.
So, a film that combines the serious with a lot of humour (and some moments or romantic fantasy). The film was written and directed by Nadine Labaka who also has a leading role as the proprietor of a local café. The sensibility of the film is distinctly female. While the women can argue with the best of them, they are wives and mothers, caregivers rather than warriors. How will they try to promote peace amongst the pugnacious men?
Actually, some of the solutions are a fake miracle, a statue of Mary weeping blood while the mayor’s mother pretends to have visions and messages from Mary, wanting peace. She overdoes it by making some of Mary’s criticisms rather personal! They bring in some belly dancers from a nightclub. They also have some creative culinary experiments that make peace more of a pleasantly high experience. And, there is a rather drastic interfaith solution.
Audiences will find the film quite diverting at times while they will also feel the highly emotional antagonisms as well as a longing for peace.
This review is being written at the time that government and rebels in Syria are at something of a stalemate in any give or take in resolving the uprising. Looking at this film will see something of why Lebanon’s neighbours have taken a long time to move towards peace.