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The Band's Visit (2008)

Sasson Gabai , Ronit Elkabetz , Eran Kolirin  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sasson Gabai, Ronit Elkabetz, Saleh Bakri, Khalifa Natour, Rubi Moskovitz
  • Directors: Eran Kolirin
  • Writers: Eran Kolirin
  • Producers: Ehud Bleiberg, Eilon Ratzkovsky, Guy Jacoel, Koby Gal-Raday, Michel Zana
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Hebrew
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013HL6ES
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,589 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Band's Visit" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Can movies change the world? In a word, no. But Israeli writer and director Eran Kolirin's utterly charming and engaging The Band's Visit suggests that if we could somehow put aside the politics and the religion, stifle the governments and the rhetoric, and mix in a little Gershwin, maybe even people with a history of cross-cultural suspicion and hostility really can get along. Not that the film has such pretensions--far from it. This is a simple tale involving a group of Egyptian musicians, the Alexandria Police Ceremonial Orchestra, who arrive in Israel for a concert. Things don't go well; there's no one to meet them at the airport, and they mistakenly end up in a small, drab desert town called Bet Hatikva, a place whose own residents refer to it as "bloody nowhere." But the people, especially café owner Dina (a marvelous performance by Ronit Elkabetz), are friendly and welcoming, and when they urge the band members to stay overnight before heading to their proper destination the next day, strait-laced leader Tewfiq (Sasson Gabai) finally relents. What follows is a series of plain but lovely scenes, as the Egyptians and Israelis (speaking English, their common language) tentatively search for common ground. Khaled (Saleh Bakri), the ladies man of the group ("Do you like Chet Baker?" is his favorite pick-up line), accompanies two young couples to a roller rink, where he comically helps the painfully timid Papi (Shlomi Avraham) connect with his date; meanwhile, the dignified but taciturn Tewfiq gradually warms to Dina's manifest charms, and the other musicians share a rousing chorus of "Summertime" with their Israeli hosts. The Band's Visit is filled with moments of humor, tenderness, tension, sadness, regret, and, as one character puts it, "tons of loneliness," every one of them delivered without the slightest bit of pretension or manipulation (not to mention political or religious overtones). And when, at the end, we finally hear the Orchestra perform, we only wish we could spend more time with all of these delightful characters. --Sam Graham

Stills from The Band’s Visit (click for larger image)










Product Description

This heartwarming and poignant winner of the Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard prize is the mesmerizing and witty story of strangers in a strange land. A fading Egyptian police band arrives in Israel to play at the Arab Cultural Center. When they take the wrong bus, the band members find themselves in a desolate Israeli village. With no other option than to spend the night with the local townspeople, the two distinctly different cultures realize the universal bonds of love, music and life. Set against a breathtaking desert landscape, this cross-cultural comedy proves that getting lost is sometimes the best way to find yourself.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
'It's the wrong time and the wrong place...' - there are so many excerpts of songs quoted in this movie and ones that stimulate memories of old songs that are very much in keeping with the title and the story, THE BAND'S VISIT (BIKUR HA-TIZMORET). A timely piece, this little film is about humanity and the possibility of communication by various means that overcome differences between cultures far better than treaties, summit meetings, and physical and verbal demonstrations. It is a thoughtful, engaging, and completely delightful success.

The Alexandria Police Ceremonial Orchestra with 'General' Tewfiq (Sasson Gabai) rigidly in charge provides music for occasions, and the particular occasion for this venture is a ceremony in Israel. Flying in from Egypt well dressed in light blue uniforms to perform for the new Arab Culture Center, the small band is not met as expected at the airport. Tewfiq attempts to resolve the lack of proper greeting and transportation by reserving space on a bus - a trip that mistakenly (through problems originating in language confusion) results in the band being dropped off in a small village Bet Hatikva. Frustrated with circumstances, the band is met with genial hospitality by café owner Dina (Ronit Elkabetz) who not only feeds them but puts the small band up for the evening. Dina has eyes for Tewfig and plans an evening out on the town with him - an evening that has its own surprises as each lonely person shares life circumstances. The other members of the band are placed in lodging with Dina's workers and at a dinner party discover similarities in their lives.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra gets lost in Israel. After taking a wrong bus from the airport, this small police band from Egypt is stranded at a small, sleepy town in Israel. Tired and hungry, eight members of the band all clad in light-blue uniform decide to stay overnight at the place. Using this simple story, Israeli-born director Eran Kolirin (his feature film debut) has made a very amusing and charming film.

Israel-France-US film "The Band's Visit" relates a set of episodes about the band's members and the local residents. Nothing big happens here, just small things that happen between Israeli hosts and Egyptian guests, but all these small things matter in "The Bands Visit," a bitter-sweet tale that will make you smile in a traditional way, without being too political.

The most impressive part for me is about the band's rigid and stoic conductor Tawfiq (Sasson Gabai) and the restaurant owner Dina (Ronit Elkabetz), who is also an attractive woman (in red dress). Difficulties of communication still lie between them when he reluctantly accepts her invitation to dinner, but they slowly begin to reveal what is hidden deep in their heart to one another (and us) - after all Tawfiq may not be the only one who has been left stranded at this quiet town. The excellent performances from Sasson Gabai and Ronit Elkabetz are really fantastic.

Another memorable episode is an equally charming and almost silent one. It happens at the roller disco scene where one of the band's younger members teaches a timid local boy how to seduce a girl. It is a little gem and you have to see it for yourself to understand that sometimes silence is the best way to tell a good story.

The theme of the film may not be particularly new, and it must be said that this quiet film may require patience for some viewers. Still with the great performances from the cast "The Band's Visit" is a lovely little film with genuinely magical moments.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Theatrical Release
"The Band's Visit" is 87 minutes of perfection from writer/director Eran Kolirin. There's little dialogue, accounting in part to language barriers, but more due to the dearth of things to talk about in the forgotten outpost of Beit Hatikva. Moreover, its residents seem talked-out and beaten down. Beautiful but weary Dina (the wonderful Ronit Elkabetz) nails the essence of the town's residents when she says that their misdirected Arab guests - looking for the Arab Culture Center - will find "No Arab culture, no Israeli culture, no culture at all."

I'm struck by how Kolirin makes those few words matter so much. Over a dozen scenes are stuck permanently in my head a full month or more after our viewing. Two scenes in particular stand out:

- An indescribably well-played wordless piece where jazz hipster Haled (Saleh Bakri) leads an inept Papi (Shlomi Avraham) through his first encounter with a girl. Brilliant direction here by Kolirin.

- A brilliant scene in which band director Tawfiq (regally portrayed by Sasson Gabai) reluctantly reveals the reason behind his romantic reticence. The core of the scene - when Tawfiq says "You are a good woman, Dina, I am sure of it" - elicts a reaction from Ms. Elkabetz bemoaning a life spent worrying about silly things that don't matter now. It's stirring cinema.

So, now we add "The Band's Visit" to my growing list of Israeli films you must see:

The Syrian Bride
Time of Favor
... Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a lovely portrayal of a hateful situation
The story and characters of this touching film and play makes it a must for anyone who would wish for happy ending in the Israeli and Palestinian tragedy. Venus Masselam Ph. Read more
Published 18 days ago by venusreviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and bittersweet love as Egyptians and Israelis meet each other...
My wife saw this 5 or 6 years ago and wanted to see it again. Glad she did since I enjoyed it as much as she. There does not seem to be rental option but it a movie worth buying.
Published 1 month ago by Joseph E. Haas
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
On first viewing, `The Band`s Visit, ` feels threadbare and skeletal. Yet, like a rare flower, this quiet and unpretentious film opens up when you least expect it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by B. Berthold
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story with some feel good moments
Very enjoyable movie. Lots of humor..Good performances. Good story but full of easy cliches and cartoon like characters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Michael Landis
3.0 out of 5 stars Screened for a film festival.
It was fair. A bit slow, not one I would choose for our film festival. The acting was decent but the story line was a bit strange
Published 2 months ago by luvleebrown1
5.0 out of 5 stars Its good to be lost sometimes
I was not expecting for this movie to be as good as it is. The movie is about Egyptian Police Band that gets lost in Israel. If you have not seen this movie make sure to see it.
Published 3 months ago by Damian Marynski
5.0 out of 5 stars cute movie and funny and different
cute movie and funny and different
they do speak english here in some parts and hebrew i believe..
but its a different funny drama movie.
a must watch..
Published 12 months ago by L. Shpitalskiy
5.0 out of 5 stars A Funny, Bittersweet Film
This low-budget fil about an Egyptian touring band temporarily stranded in small-town Israel made me laugh and cry at the same time.
Published 15 months ago by Al Young
4.0 out of 5 stars I really liked this movie
This is not only about the cultural experience of being Arabs in a small Jewish city; it's also a story about communication, and generation gaps, and some very basic human needs... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Karen J Granger
5.0 out of 5 stars 'My Funny Valentine': A Little Film with a Tender Message
'It's the wrong time and the wrong place...' - there are so many excerpts of songs quoted in this movie and ones that stimulate memories of old songs that are very much in keeping... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Grady Harp
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