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Where Do We Go Now? Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Arabic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A  (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 102 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 11, 2012
  • List Price: $45.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Lebanese actress and director Nadine Lebaki’s (Caramel) 2011 film Where Do We Go Now? (Et maintenant on va où?) is a comedy/drama that hits right at the core of the struggles her native land has faced for decades, and it does it at times in such a wistful manner that it is easy to look past the greater depth of what is actually captured here.

Set in an unnamed, out of the way village in Lebanon at the end of the 20th century, the story gets underway as the village that is populated by a small group of Christians and Muslims are just on the cusp of entering the 21st century through a major technological breakthrough – radio and television. Some of the local kids have crossed the small bridge that is their only connection to the outside world and brought back the means to pull in a broadcast signal. They’ve set up a TV night for the townsfolk, which brings in news of the outbreak of some violent sectarian clashes between Christians and Muslims elsewhere in the country. It isn’t long before the local peace that has existed between the people there is threatened as the hotheaded men start to clash over every little thing. Fearing the worst and tired of mourning their men, the women of the town from both religions, Amale (Labaki) and her friends Afaf (Layla Hakim), Saydeh (Antoinette Noufaily), Takla (Claude Baz Moussawbaa), and Yvonne (Yvonne Maalouf) get together to concoct a series of schemes to keep their men calm and preoccupied so their minds stay off of violence. They try everything from faking visions from the Virgin Mary, hiring sexy Ukrainian dancers to stay in the town, and baking up hashish treats to get their men in a festive mood. But when one mother’s son is killed in the crossfire of a sectarian shootout outside of the village, none of their work may be enough to keep the peace. Caught in the middle of it all is the beautiful Christian woman Amale who is in love with the Muslim Rabih (Julian Farhat) who can’t help but get caught up in the fracas.

Labaki’s direction here is impeccable as is her performance. The film is equally amusing as it is tearfully poignant. The moment when one mother voices her anger at Virgin Mary for her son’s death vowing never to walk into the church again is downright chilling. While overall the musical score from Labaki’s husband Khaled Mouzanar is also rather effective, the musical numbers add too much of a Bollywood feel into an otherwise perfect film.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Where Do We Go Now? was captured in high definition using the Arri Alexa. Comes to Blu-ray in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement that looks remarkably filmic considering it was done digitally. The detail is strong as is color reproduction.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

A strong Arabic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 (48kHz/16-bit) mix is included for Where Do We Go Now? and believe me when I tell you, you won’t miss that extra channel. There is still a good amount of low frequency range here, but mostly this is dialogue-driven mix with a wonderful sense of atmospherics in the surrounds, be it crickets chirping or otherwise. The musical score and songs are naturally presented and well balanced into the mix as well.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

We get a typical slate of extras on the disc, but at least they are quite lengthy and in HD.

The supplements:

  • Commentary with Nadine Labaki and Khaled Mouzanar – The husband and wife team also team up for an interesting audio commentary.
  • An Evening with Nadine Labaki, Anne-Dominique Toussaint, and Khaled Mouzanar (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:39:11) – The filmmakers give a long Q&A session.
  • The Making of Where Do We Go Now? (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:18:16)
  • Where Do We Go Now? – Making the Music (1.78:1; SD; 00:12:16)
  • Theatrical Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24; Arabic Dolby Digital 5.1)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Where Do We Go Now? easily tackles the delicate issues surrounding the disputes between the Christians and Muslims in Lebanon by digging into the humanity of it all with humor, heart, and music. Her directorial eye is detailed and lavish while she pulls superb performances out of her cast. This Blu-ray from Sony is also top-notch, with excellent picture and sound.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]


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