Weekly News via Email
   Set as homepage | Add to favorites | Customer Service | Subscribe Now | Place an Ad | Contact Us | Sitemap Wednesday, 02.21.2018
News Archive
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2
 3  4  5  6  7  8  9
 10  11  12  13  14  15  16
 17  18  19  20  21  22  23
 24  25  26  27  28  29
Online Extras
Site Services
Around Bend
Outdoor Fun
Travel Info
Shop Local

Members Of

Poll: Today's Live Poll
Email to a friend | Print this | PDF version | Comments (0 posted) 
  Blogger |   del.icio.us |   digg |   newsvine

Feb 29,2008
Movie Review: 'The Band's Visit'
by Arthur Salm

The men in the Alexandria Police Band are way, way out of their element. Having arrived in Israel to play at the opening of an Arab cultural center, they've taken a bus in exactly the wrong direction and now find themselves stranded outside a small desert town.

'THE BAND'S VISIT' - Fresh from Egypt, the Alexandria Police Band finds itself stranded in Isreal's Negev desert in the comedy 'The Band's Visit.' CNS Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. 


4 STARS - Excellent.

3 STARS - Worthy.

2 STARS - Mixed.

1 STAR - Poor.

0 - Forget It (a dog.) 

There they stand, eight Egyptians with their instruments and their rolling luggage, plunked down at a Yawehforsaken bus stop. Stiff in their powder-blue band uniforms, they're ridiculous, pitiful, dazed dignified.

In the middle distance stand the town's bland apartment buildings, looking similarly stranded. Striding purposefully up to an outdoor cafe, Tewfiq (Sasson Gabai), their sad, tightly strung leader, asks Dina (Ronit Elkabetz), the cafe's owner, for directions to the Arab cultural center.

"No Arab culture here," she tells him, bemused. "No Israeli culture. No culture."

"Dead," a local hanger-out agrees.

No more buses today, either. Dina what-the-hells and takes them in, bringing Tewfiq and Khaled (Saleh Bakri), a young, Chet-Baker-crooning Lothario, to her apartment, assigning a co-worker to take the rest of the band to his. They will spend the long evening and night together, these disappointed, end-of-the-road Israelis and out-of-their-depth Egyptians.

Nothing much will happen. Dina drags a reluctant Tewfiq out to get something to eat. Khaled accompanies a girl-shy Israeli boy to a roller rink, where, in hilarious slo-mo slapstick, the Egyptian passes along some rudimentary romantic pointers. The other band members share an uncomfortable dinner with a bickering family, from whom the no. 2 conductor, the wistful Simon (Khalifa Natour), finds some musical inspiration.

"The Band's Visit" blends gentle comedy and softly aching pathos into a low-key, deeply affecting wonder, a sort of alternate-universe version of Aki Kaurismaki's raucous 1989 hoot "Leningrad Cowboys Go America." (Both films betray, or rather, brandish Jim Jarmusch roots.)

Wryly written and slyly directed by Eran Kolirin, "The Band's Visit" is grounded by impeccable performances from the Israeli/Palestinian cast, particularly those of Gabai and Elkabetz. She's sexy, cynical, weary, almost but not quite into middle age; he's there and then some, a stolid true believer in the Alexandria Police Band, keeping the faith despite heartbreaking personal tragedy. In their awkward, then increasingly unguarded conversation - charming, even cute without, somehow, veering into cutesy - Tewfiq and Dina discover a soothing congruency in their troubled souls.

The gears in the various story lines whir with so little friction that the mechanism seems overly lubricated - by schmaltz, perhaps? Maybe; but if so, the source of the stuff is genuine.

"The Band's Visit." Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes. Rated: PG-13. 3 1/2 stars.
1140 times read

Related news
Films in Focus: New and recent releases by David Elliott and others posted on Feb 29,2008

Films in Focus: New and recent releases by David Elliott and others posted on Mar 14,2008

Pop Talk: The Brunettes - Kiwi-style sweet songs by Nina Garin posted on Oct 05,2007

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00 (total 33 votes)

Market Information
Breaking News
Most Popular
Most Commented
Featured Columnist
Horoscope Guide
Aquarius Aquarius Libra Libra
Aries Aries Pisces Pisces
Cancer Cancer Sagittarius Sagittarius
Capricorn Capricorn Scorpio Scorpio
Gemini Gemini Taurus Taurus
Leo Leo Virgo Virgo
Local Attractions
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau

Mt. Bachelor Resort
Mt. Bachelor Resort

Les Schwab Ampitheater
Les Schwab Ampitheater

Deschutes County Fairgrounds
Deschutes County

Tower Theatre
Tower Theatre

The High Desert Museum


Deschutes County

  Web    BendWeekly.com
© 2006 Bend Weekly News
A .Com Endeavors, Inc. Company.
All Rights Reserved. Terms under
which this service is provided to you.
Please read our Privacy Policy. Contact us.
Bend Weekly News & Event Guide Online
   Save the Net
External sites open in new window,
not endorsed by BendWeekly.com
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Google Add to MSN Add to My AOL
What are RSS headlines?