Thursday, February 21, 2008

MOVIE: The Band's Visit

I doubt this one had much screen time in America. The lack of Arabic and Hebrew speakers in "main stream" audiences likely contributed to the movie's lack of an appearance.

"The Band's Visit" is a very subtle, intriguing tale about the the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra that flies from Egypt to Israel, to perform at the opening of an Arab culture center. They get lost. And subdued drama ensues.

There are no gun fights. No bombs. No political statements. And no sub-titles. But I don't know if I would have appreciated the movie more if I could understand exactly what was being said. I intuited a good bit of it. And the rest was spoken in English. So it is likely the Director (newbie Eran Kolirin) wanted English audiences to fend for themselves.

Anyway, the Arab band gets stranded in an foreign Israeli town and they have to get to their gig the next morning. During the wait, a couple of the band members hang out with an Israeli family and talk about typical topics such as children, relationships, and how a man meets a women. Another band member (the handsome violin/trumpet dude) goes out on the town with a pair of local boys and their dates. They roller skate. And he ends up teaching one of the boys the subtle nuances of wooing womens. Finally, the band conductor goes on an odd date with a lonely restaurant owner and she shows him the local hot spots.

Very much a movie about the "human condition" as well as the interaction between to supposedly diametrically opposed cultures.

Exceptionally good flick. Mondo points all around for acting, directing, dialog, pacing, and cinematography. I was also very fond of the subtle references to old American tunes. Funny how everyone seems to know "Funny little valentine."

Worth renting. And if it ever comes out on the Big Screen, a very good Date Movie.
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