Nadine Labaki: "Cinema is a non-violent weapon to change things"
January 20 sees the release in 100 Italian cinemas of the comedy-drama, distributed by Eagle, Where do we go now? [+see also:
film profile] by Lebanon’s Nadine Labaki. After its debut in a Cannes, the film won several awards, including the Toronto Film Festival’s People's Choice Award, and US critics have named it as a favourite for Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. "This sudden exposure allows us to dream of being able to, in the future, have a film industry in Lybia", says the director during her meeting with the press in Rome.
Cineuropa: As we already saw in Caramel [+see also:
film profile], here we see women who oppose violence, they bring a positive energy.
Nadine Labaki: "The film’s aim was not to say that women will definitely bring peace; rather I wanted to talk about my, our, responsibilty in the things that happen. Wars and conflicts are not only the fault of men, since these are conflicts that exist in every part of the world, often dictated by fear. And so I asked myself, as a woman and a mother, how I could try to stop all this, how I could at least tell myself I tried. The film talks about how a woman and a mother can confront the absurdity of the conflicts; in our country we have seen men who one moment were living side by side, eating the same bread and breathing the same air, take up weapons against one another. We have to react to this absurdity".
The film is a mixture of musical comedy and political drama. Where does your passion for mixing genres come from?
When I make a film I am dreaming of a different world, and this is the point of my mixing genres such as comedy, dance and drama. Laughter and humour help us to confront a reality such as ours, these conflicts are so absurd that you can’t take them in any other way: laughing also helps to start a process of healing, to learn from our mistakes. I know many women who have lost their loved ones, who are mourning and yet continue to have a sense of humour and to carry on with a smile: we have to learn from them. The approach I adopted in this film is not realistic, it is not set in a specific place or time: the conflict shown could have manifested itself between any two sides, even between two parties or two football teams, it’s a conflict that simply concerns human beings. The musical aspect allowed me to also add a fable-like tone to a film with such an important theme.
Hypothetically, is Hollywood an aim for you or rather something to avoid?
If Hollywood allowed me to do the things I want to do, then why not. In any case I am not interested in shooting bigger or grander films, my aim with my next films is rather to experiment more, to flirt with reality. What I have always tried to do with my cinema is to make something true to life, to be able to at least try to change it; in order to do this, people have to identify with what they see in a film, it has to have an impact on what they experience in their own lives. I want cinema to become a new - non-violent - weapon, to change things. Perhaps it is naïve to see it this way, but I would like to think I have at least tried.
(Translated from Italian)
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