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THE BAND’S VISIT

Director: ERAN KOLIRIN

ISRAEL-FRANCE-U.S.A. • 2007 SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 87 MIN


AN EGYPTIAN BAND GETS STRANDED IN A NOWHERE ISRAELI DESERT TOWN IN THE BAND’S VISIT, A WARM AND DELIGHTFUL TAKE ON CROSS-CULTURAL RELATIONS WHICH PROVES THAT SOMETIMES A LIGHT TOUCH IS JUST WHAT’S NEEDED TO ADDRESS SERIOUS TOPICS.
When their hosts fail to turn up at the airport, the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Band takes a bus to the town they’re supposed to be playing. Not only isn’t it much of a place, it’s also not their place, but the last bus has gone and they don’t know where they’re supposed to go. To quell grumblings already afoot among members, conductor Tawfiq (Sasson Gabai) hesitantly accepts a suggestion from cafe manager Dina (Ronit Elkabetz) to stay the night. Tawfiq and handsome ladies’ man Khaled (Saleh Bakri) bunk together at Dina’s.
She’s not the kind of woman Tawfiq is used to: wry, with an outward, playful self-confidence and undisguised sexuality. The awkward, melancholy band leader reluctantly accepts Dina’s invitation to dinner, where her needy flirtation and his gentlemanly sadness form a bridge of understanding. By the film’s end, it’s not just that the Israelis and Egyptians have learned something about each other; they’ve learned something about themselves. Mastering these lessons without becoming artificially rosy-eyed would defeat a lesser talent, but both in script and direction Eran Kolirin proves he’s more than up to the task. His picaresque humour and witty style are a joy to behold, and his film’s visuals are a particular pleasure. Kolirin has a witty sense of composition, unexpectedly passing people in and out of the frame to maximum effect.—Jay Weissberg, ‘Variety’.

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