Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Band's Visit

VIFF Screening: The Band's Visit (Bikur Hatizmoret), is a quiet and observant comedy, that feels genuinely human...

Vancouver International Film Festival

When I read online that The Band's Visit was awarded the Jury Coup de Coeur prize at this year's Festival de Cannes, I knew getting a ticket to see the film at the Vancouver International Film Festival would be well worth the purchase.

Winning an award at prestigious festivals isn't a bad thing, in fact it generates pretty big buzz for any film, and it's a good selling point to get viewers like me to see the movie. Being that there are so many movies at film festivals these days, one has to have a way to measure what's worth checking out, and what's worth avoiding completely. So I did, and I wasn't disappointed.

An Egyptian Police orchestral band arrives in Israel to commemorate the opening of an Arabic cultural center. Waiting at the airport, the Band soon realizes that their ride won't be showing up, so they decide to take a bus to the destination. Due to miscommunication by the mispronunciation of town names, the Band ends up in a small and sleepy town. It's late in the day, and the next bus won't be arriving until the morning. Practically stranded, they stay the night with some folks they meet at a small local eatery.

The awkwardness, of staying with strangers, is a humorous setup, but The Band's Visit, is more then just a funny movie. No, there is more to the film then jokes. There are dramatic moments in which we learn more about the characters, namely Tawfiq (Sasson Gabai) the Band Conductor. His strange relationship with cafe manager Dina (Ronit Elkabetz), are the main focus of the film, and it's really a joy to watch them. They have such a nice chemistry.

As the Band stays the night each going about their business, they learn a little bit about themselves by spending time with the locals, and by the time the night is over, life seems a little less clouded. The drama isn't forced, nor is it sentimental overkill either, it's just enough to humanize the characters.

The Band's Visit is Directed, and written by Eran Kolirin.

Related: VIFF screening: They Wait

No comments: