"Fish out of Water in the Desert"
THE BAND’S VISIT is an acclaimed Israeli movie about a wayward Egyptian police band that spends a night in a small, isolated Jewish suburb in the Israeli desert. Led by the autocratic and stoic, but polite, conductor Tewfiq, the band goes to the wrong place, ending up in that isolated suburb. Tewfiq blames it on the band’s lothario, the handsome Khaled, who got the band’s bus tickets when no one arrives at the bus terminal to pick them up.
Dina, the pretty, voluptuous owner of a small roadside lunch place, takes pity on the band and is attracted to Tewfiq despite some difference in their ages (she is in her thirties while he is in his forties). Dina takes Tewfiq and Khaled into her home for the night and parcels out the other band members to a couple other places.
The evening leads to some awkward moments and family tensions for the Israelis and their Egyptian guests, but also some moments of compassionate human understanding. Dina strikes up a friendship with Tewfiq, and Khaled helps a young Israeli clumsy with girls woo a girl at a skating rink.
THE BAND’S VISIT has some priceless, exquisitely subtle moments of dry comedy and warm pathos. Viewers learn that the stoic band commander, a widower, is carrying around a family tragedy that brings him inner turmoil. The caution to THE BAND’S VISIT is that Dina clearly wants Tewfiq to passionately romance her. Without giving anything away, someone does indeed go to bed with her, though the movie only shows them passionately kissing in a dark hallway. The movie also contains some foul language, including one “f” word.
Few people, however, especially children or teenagers, are likely to see this movie, despite its acclaim. Even so, THE BAND’S VISIT is good enough to gain some notoriety during the upcoming awards season, which may bring a surprising amount of income at the international box office and on DVD. Reducing the chances for that is the fact that the movie contains no positive religious references. Thus, the movie’s worldview is relatively humanist, though not aggressively atheist. In this setting, it is not surprising that it is secular music, including, ironically enough, popular American jazz, that helps dissolve the cultural and linguistic differences between the movie’s characters.
(H, Ro, B, Pa, P, L, V, S, A, D, M) Humanist worldview with some Romantic, moral and pagan elements and qualities, and an intriguing, surprising pro-American subtext that it is popular American jazz songs that helps a group of Israelis and Egyptian Arabs transcend cultural differences; eight obscenities, including one “f” word, and a person says “God help you” in an idiomatic way; light implied violence when woman in skating rink falls down, but her fall is not directly shown, plus a mention of a past suicide; implied fornication, kissing, woman clearly wants to seduce man, woman says she is occasionally seeing a man who has children with another woman (he may or may not be married), and young man puts hand on girl’s knee in skating rink while they’re sitting down; no nudity, but some female cleavage on one woman who dresses in a slightly provocative way and young woman wears a mini skirt; alcohol use; smoking; and, Israeli family argues, Egyptian band members argue, and a crude insult.
THE BAND’S VISIT is an acclaimed Israeli movie about a wayward Egyptian police band that spends a night in a small, isolated Jewish suburb in Israel. Led by the autocratic and stoic, but polite, conductor Tewfiq, the band goes to the wrong place, ending up in that isolated suburb. Tewfiq blames it on the band’s lothario, the handsome Khaled who got the band’s bus tickets. Despite his craggy features, the fortysomething Tewfiq attracts the attentions of thirtysomething Dina, the voluptuous owner of a small roadside lunch place. Dina helps the band members find places to stay, which leads to awkward moments and family tensions, but also warm moments of compassionate human understanding.
THE BAND’S VISIT has some priceless, exquisitely subtle moments of dry comedy and touching pathos. The caution is that Dina wants Tewfiq to passionately romance her. Without giving anything away, someone does indeed go to bed with her, though the movie only shows them kissing passionately in shadows. The movie also contains some strong obscenities. It is intriguing to note that it is secular music, including popular American jazz songs, that helps dissolve the cultural differences between the characters.