Bands Visit, The (Bikur Ha-Tizmoret) (12)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner07/11/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 85 mins

Delightful comedy with a subtle script and charming performances from its three leads.

What's it all about?
Directed by first-time writer-director Eran Kolirin, The Bands Visit opens with an Egyptian police band (the Alexandria Ceremonial Orchestra) arriving in Israel for a cultural exchange concert and promptly finding themselves stranded at the airport. Despite the best efforts of their Captain Mainwaring-esque leader, Tewfiq (Sasson Gabai), the band wind up at the tiny town of Beitha Tikva, instead of their intended destination, the similar-sounding Petach Tikva.

Stranded in the middle of the desert and with no bus expected till the following day, Tewfiq gratefully accepts an offer of food and lodging from attractive local cafe owner Dina (Ronit Elkabetz). Over the course of the night, Tewfiq and band lothario Khaled (Saleh Bakri) have a series of romance-tinged adventures, while the remaining band members endure an evening of family tension when they stay with Dina's friend Itzik (Rubi Moskovitz).

The Good
The performances are wonderful, particularly Gabai and Elkabetz, who make a surprisingly touching onscreen couple. Bakri is equally good, especially during the film's best scene, a terrific single take, dialogue-free sequence in which he offers step-by-step help to a shy young man (Shlomi Avraham) trying to make a move on his equally nervous date at a roller-disco.

Kolirin gets the tone exactly right and includes a number of details that add considerably to the film, from the band's pristine, powder-blue uniforms to the sparse locations.

The Great
Kolirin's charming script is extremely well observed and there are several wonderful moments. It also delivers a subtle but effective message about Israeli-Arab relations and the connections that result from communication (much of the film is in broken English, which the film subtitles anyway, just to be on the safe side).

Worth seeing?
The Bands Visit is a charming comedy that is by turns laugh-out-loud funny and genuinely moving, thanks to a superb script, assured direction and terrific performances. Highly recommended.

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Bands Visit, The (Bikur Ha-Tizmoret) (12)
Bands Visit, The (Bikur Ha-Tizmoret) has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 11/12/2017 03:54

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