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Arts & Life

'The Band's Visit'

Tewfiq (Sasson Gabai) is an Egyptian police band leader lost in Israel after a miscommunication about the opening of an Arab Culture Center in The Band's Visit. Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

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Tewfiq (Sasson Gabai), an Egyptian police band leader lost in Israel and Dina (Ronit Elkabetz) befriend one another in a park in The Band's Visit.

Sony Pictures Classics
  • Director: Eran Kolirin
  • Genre: Drama, Comedy
  • Running Time: 87 minutes

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An Egyptian police band arrives in Israel for a good will visit, attired in powder-blue uniforms that make them look like refugees from a child's toy chest. When their sponsors don't meet them at the airport, they board the wrong bus, and end up stranded in a remote desert town, far from their destination. The proprietor of a local diner helps settle them with local families for the night, with the fit proving haphazard at best, awkward at worst.

And from this intersection of the haphazard and the awkward, armed with gentle humor and serious understatement, Israeli writer-director Eran Kolirin makes a nifty little human comedy. Communication being difficult — the only language the Egyptians and the Israelis share is English, and none of them speaks that well — some scenes are very nearly mimed. There's a lovely bit where the band's ladies' man tries wordlessly to help a skittish, inexperienced Israeli woo a painfully shy young woman — a scene as delicate and sweet as something out of Chaplin.

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