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Nadine Labaki’s second feature film is absolutely heartbreakingly stunning. It is a more than worthy follower to her award wining debut “Caramel”. Now she is back with a sensational film that won the Cadillac People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival 2011 and premiered at the Cannes Film Fest 2011.
Tucked away in the Lebanese mountains is a small village in which Muslims and Christians have been living together for centuries in peace, so it seems. The village is remote and surrounded by mines and is reachable through a small bridge, which makes news from the city reach the villagers with a time lag. Through small scenes we learn about the sectarian strife that has taken its toll in the rest of the country and is turning neighbors and friends into enemies.
The women of the village, excellently portrayed by Nadine Labaki, Claude Baz Moussawbaa, Leyla Hakim, Yvonne Maalouf, and Antoinette Noufaily, decide to use all their powers and creative wit to keep the bad news away from their men. Continuous friction and misunderstandings drive spite between the men and the situation is bound to escalate into violence. The women decide to maintain peace at any cost and don’t back away from using extremely unorthodox methods to keep their man sane and the village safe. When a young boy dies from a deadly bullet the efforts of the women seem to be in vain and the situation is about to take an ugly turn. If not for the women, who once again, generously offer huge sacrifices to insist on peace.
This heartbreakingly witty film makes you cry and laugh at the same time and it painfully touches you in a very serious spot. This village could be in Egypt, Lebanon or anywhere else where sectarian strife senselessly turns women into widows. It reminds you how easy neighbors could become enemies and how violence is a vicious circle with no winners. It also reminds you of many senseless deaths and that divide and conquer is surely a political strategy. This film will make you cry silent tears and laugh out loud at the wit and power of these courageous women, who decided to defy the odds and stand their own man for the sake of peace and quiet. Must watch!