ONE of the great things about this job is that it occasionally pops up a film about which I have no advance knowledge and from which I find myself taking great satisfaction (there’s a flip side, but let’s not go there today).
Lebanese writer/director/actress Nadine Labaki spends 98 minutes telling a cinematic parable for our time.
In an isolated village to which the only access is a narrow crossing of an encircling gorge, Christians and Muslims live in social and religious harmony. It’s no Utopia. The living is not easy. But everybody knows everybody else. The imam and the priest are pals. The cemetery has separate sections for the two faiths.
The community is essentially a feminocracy. A bus carrying a troupe of hootchie-cootchie dancers suffers engine failure at the outer end of the land bridge. The village women offer hospitality. The men suddenly get interested in village affairs. A young man on a trip to buy supplies in the outer world dies from a stray bullet in a sectarian scuffle. Muslim and Christian pallbearers lead the cortege to the cemetery. Suddenly, the film’s title acquires a purpose.
The film delivers a wonderful intertwining of humour and anger to anchor its dramatic development. As with every parable, it carries a message. Would that religious zealots might give heed.
At Greater Union