Customer Review

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'My Funny Valentine': A Little Film with a Tender Message, August 11, 2008
This review is from: The Band's Visit (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. Khaled (Saleh Bakri), a somewhat antagonistic ladies' man, spends an evening with a terrified young man Papi (Shlomi Avraham) on his first real date, and in the course of the evening introduces the fine art of courtship to Papi in a hilarious but touching scene.

The use of English as the common language between these Arab and Hebrew speaking people adds elements of humor as well as moments of sweetness as both the band members and the Israelis grow to know and care about each other. The conversations among each separate group are delivered in Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles and this degree of modified privacy becomes almost more humorous because of the bumpy language barriers shared with the audience. Everyone grows through this short visit and by the time the band departs for their correct destination by the next morning's bus, bonds have been made that preserve the dignity of nationality while overriding the limitations of differences peculiar to each country. This is a quiet, gentle, at times very humorous little movie that offers insights of how to attain global community for us all. Writer/director Eran Kolirin deserves special recognition for assembling and molding this excellent cast for this remarkable, genuinely compassionate statement about important issues. Grady Harp, August 08
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 11, 2008 8:46:34 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2008 5:41:23 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 9, 2008 10:51:20 AM PDT]

Posted on Aug 12, 2008 3:53:30 PM PDT
I watched this movie some time ago and added my Amazon comments then. While I think Harp missed a good deal of the loneliness of the lead characters, his general take on the movie in my opinion is accurate. It's a gentle, sweet-natured film that manages to cross cultural lines. It doesn't try to give lessons on settling problems or resolving differences. I'd hope that anyone thinking of seeing the movie would take a chance and rent the disc or pay for a ticket. Think of it as a satisfyingly hot glass of tea with honey, not as a mouthful of nougat.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2008 8:53:59 PM PDT
C.O.DeReimer says this movie doesn't try to give lessons on settling problems or resolving differences. If that is true, what happens to his claim that Grady Harp's general take on the movie is accurate? It is Grady Harp after all who claims the movie offers insights of how to attain global community for us all and offers a remarkable, genuinely compassionate statement about important issues.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2008 5:38:34 AM PDT
It leaves my claim in the hands of those who have actually seen the movie. I have as much interest in Harp as I have in Edward Everett Horton. The movie, however, is one of those small foreign films that get almost no play in the U.S. I'd regret it if a person passed it by because of comments here about the movie by Harp, me or anyone else.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2008 6:44:22 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2008 8:16:34 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2008 9:06:06 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2008 11:05:20 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 9, 2008 10:51:28 AM PDT]
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Review Details

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4.3 out of 5 stars (81 customer reviews)
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3 star:
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Reviewer

Grady Harp
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Location: Los Angeles, CA United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 56