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February 12, 2009

3

The Band’s Visit

by Franz Patrick


Band’s Visit, The
★★★ / ★★★★

This movie put a smile on my face from beginnning to end because the characters find something magical in awkward situations. An Egyptian police force (who is also a band) visits Israel to perform at a ceremony in an Arab arts center but their transportation did not pick them up. They have no choice but to spend the night in a middle of nowhere desert town where they meet kind Israelis (led by the strangely alluring Ronit Elkabetz). The leader of the police force is played with quiet power by Sasson Gabai. From the moment the film started, he is established as a serious person who is deeply conflicted. Later on, we find out why he keeps people at an arm’s length. Through his interactions with Elkabetz, we see chinks in Gabai’s armor; it is touching in just the right amount and it was done in a natural way. Elkabetz impressed me in so many ways because reminded me of Sonia Braga’s acting style: she can be tender and seductive while at the same time standing up for something she believes to be right. Last but not least, Saleh Bakri as the playboy member of the force manages to provide warmth in the picture. Even though he gets distracted too easily by women, he knows how to treat them right. His relationship with Gabai is interesting but it wasn’t fully developed. When the film ended, I felt like the filmmakers were just about to explore that relationship. But that’s what I love about slice of life pictures: not every problem or conflict has to be solved in a span of two hours. Even though this film barely runs for an hour and thirty minutes, it accomplished a lot. One of the best themes of the movie is finding similarities between two very different cultures, whether it comes to music, relationships, and being wounded by the past. The three main characters share a certain loneliness and I could identify with each of them equally. I also find this film commendable because it did not result to being political. It’s about people being themselves and why that should be enough to be able to relate to one another in a meaningful way.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 12 2009

    I used to watch a lot of foreign movie, but nowadays a bit slow, maybe after your post I will go back to buy some foreign movie as it’s have some unique culture in the movie… more heart touching!

    Reply
  2. Feb 12 2009

    hmmmmm….foreign movies. not fond of em. but some are quite good….cant remember their names though. i have short terms memory loss….:P

    Reply
  3. Feb 18 2009

    I agree that most foreign films are slow but that’s what makes them beautiful. Since they take their time, they really get under the motivations of the characters so the audiences get to understand them better. I’m a big fan of Spanish and French motion pictures.

    Reply

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