Go Home


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Go Home
"A film that is confident in visiting the past not only as flashbacks but as repercussions, relations, revelations."

Nada, our polyglot protagonist, is returning home. Part of the Lebanese diaspora, she has returned to the village of her early childhood, to the house of her grandfather, to overgrown and litter strewn aftermath, to messy history. Jihane Chouaib's film is an affecting exploration of what home means to emigrants, exiles, returnees, survivors, to those who left and those who were left behind, of cultures that have clashed and are again clashing.

There are stark moments: cleaning a house with bottle water, the sudden use of 'toi', the way that gender divides experience and levels of cooperation, the barriers of age and family and politics and childhood memory all conspiring to produce a truly affecting tale. There are tensions, parallel displacements, inequalities - it's observed that "the whole village knows [their] story" but those whose story it is are not themselves cognisant.

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In attempting to solve at least one of their problems there's a conversation about documentation - "it's like making a lie the truth forever", but that is, in a way, the essence of history. Nothing buried goes unfound, unless it does. Even the most solemn vows are broken. The past is a foreign country, even more so when there's a foreign country in your past.

Golshifteh Farahani is central to a talented cast, possessed of a confidence in contexts that shifts as the story unfolds. Chouaib writes, directs, and has constructed a film that is confident in visiting the past not only as flashbacks but as repercussions, relations, revelations. As personal, perhaps, as it is powerful, Go Home evokes not only place but displacement, and admirably so.

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2016
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Go Home packshot
A woman returns to Lebanon and realises she has become a stranger in her own country.

Director: Jihane Chouaib

Writer: Jihane Chouaib

Starring: Golshifteh Farahani, Wissam Fares, Julia Kassar, Mireille Maalouf, François Nour, Maximilien Seweryn

Year: 2015

Runtime: 98 minutes

Country: France, Switzerland, Belgium


EIFF 2016

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