The Band’s Visit (2007)

ERAN KOLIRIN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Bikur Ha-Tizmoret

Israel/France/USA, 2007.  July August Productions, Bleiberg Entertainment, Sophie Dulac Productions, Israel Film Fund, Keshet Broadcasting, Yes.  Screenplay by Eran Kolirin.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by European Film Awards 2007.  Toronto International Film Festival 2007.

The subtly humorous joys of this film are not to be missed. Based on actual events, it chronicles the experiences of the Alexandria police’s musical band as they travel to Israel to attend an Arab music festival. When there’s no one to meet them at the airport, they ask for directions and take a bus out to a tiny, dusty town that turns out to be the wrong destination. Stuck in the middle of nowhere until they can get another bus, the group cool their heels, put up very generously by the owner of a local eatery and some of her friends. Quiet, tender and poignant, this film has no major events and yet it is so surprisingly captivating:  who, after all, can resist a place where roller skating to outdated music is the central opportunity for fun? What you expect to be an explosion of cultural contact is actually a whimsical exploration of curiousity and need, brought out richly by confident direction and a host of exceptional performances.  and are exceptional in the leads.

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