The Band's Visit


Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 29
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 29
  3. Negative: 0 out of 29

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Will Lawrence
    A heartfelt, wry and decidedly spry film.
  2. A lovely, smart and beautifully understated film.
  3. 100
    The Band’s Visit has not provided any of the narrative payoffs we might have expected, but has provided something more valuable: An interlude involving two “enemies,” Arabs and Israelis, that shows them both as only ordinary people with ordinary hopes, lives and disappointments. It has also shown us two souls with rare beauty.
  4. 100
    This movie has a tone, look and mood all its own - it's a joyously bittersweet piece of visual music about isolation, melancholy and everyone's yearning for transcendence, through love, art or both.
  5. Something marvelous happens as the filmmaker, in his first feature, expertly metes out small scenes of communication between people taught, for generations, to be wary of one another: This Band swings with the rhythms of hope.
  6. 88
    A modest and charming comedy from Israel.
  7. 88
    A remote, Israeli desert town is the setting for this droll, endearing comedy about an accidental cultural exchange that very quietly says some very important things about contemporary Arab-Israeli relations.
  8. First-time filmmaker Kolirin paces his can-we-all-just-get-along? parable as if it were a silent comedy, which for long stretches it is. This movie about musicians has no soundtrack. Its musical moments are few, but potent.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    It's a small, profoundly satisfying movie that keeps echoing long after it's over.
  10. 83
    Tonally, The Band's Visit steps gingerly on the line between “sweetly humane” and “cloyingly quirky.”
  11. 83
    A charming little film built of bits of music, romance, cultural conflict and the simple human need to connect.
  12. Both sweet-natured and sharply pointed, a film whose poignant, emotional effects and subtle acting sneak up on you.
  13. 80
    Has an irresistible tragic and romantic undertow.
  14. A "little" film with a great reach.
  15. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    It's a delicate parable, droll rather than funny, wise rather than smart. Eran Kolirin, debuting as a writer-director, has the deadpan sparseness of the Finnish Aki Kaurismaki, but his vision is gentler, less bleak; at moments, the movie is almost sentimental, but the performances save it every time.
  16. The Band’s Visit resounds with tenderness and melancholy.
  17. 80
    Smart, subtle, deceptively simple little.
  18. 80
    There is no shortage of remarkable moments.
  19. By the time Tawfiq, Dina, and the band’s boy Lothario, Haled (Bakri), commiserate over “My Funny Valentine” in the film’s sublime third act, writer/director Kolirin has created a remarkable world where no struggle is too severe to overcome with a little empathy and the Great American Songbook on your side.
  20. 75
    The movie, which is as low-key and subdued as Tewfiq himself, is something of a marvel: a precious work of minimalism that, instead of disappearing into itself the way so many small-scale comedies do, grows before your eyes into something profound and profoundly affecting.
  21. 75
    A drama about isolation and communication, The Band's Visit is characterized both by strongly delineated characters and low-key comedy. The movie is not lightweight but it is at times lighthearted.
  22. You can watch The Band’s Visit for its political idealism, or you can watch it for entertainment value alone. In either case, it doesn’t disappoint.
  23. Mr. Kolirin, it emerges, is wrenching comedy out of intense melancholia.
  24. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    A warm and delightful take on cross-cultural relations that proves that sometimes a light touch is just what's needed to address serious topics.
  25. 70
    I’d be lying if I said that The Band’s Visit isn’t touching and uplifting and all those other audience-friendly emotions against which film critics are believed to religiously steel themselves. But in a season rife with movies (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Grace Is Gone, The Kite Runner, et al.) that aggressively pry open viewers’ chest cavities and yank on their heartstrings, Kolirin’s film is the only one that plucks at them gently, tickling the funny bone as it goes.
  26. 70
    As the film concludes with his upraised hand, conductor’s fingers unfurling against a blue sky, you do feel that you have witnessed a small victory of wisdom over indifference and ennui. When in doubt, strike up the band.
  27. This modest little fable from Israel, in English, Hebrew and Arabic, has spellbinding resonances, yet never breaks the spell by blowing its own horn.
  28. Kolirin has a fine sense of where to place the camera and when to cut between shots for maximum comic effect, and his two lead actors--Sasson Gabai as the band's conductor and Ronit Elkabetz (Or) as one of the locals--are terrific.
  29. A slight but wise comedy about the loneliness that makes all men brothers.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Jun 24, 2014
    Out of the context of Egypt and Israel’s historical feud, this succinct awards-winning film (87 minutes) debut from Eran Kolirin may seem toOut of the context of Egypt and Israel’s historical feud, this succinct awards-winning film (87 minutes) debut from Eran Kolirin may seem to be a prosaic essay about an unfulfilled romance with a few light touches on the quotidian lives in a rural Israeli town through the eyes of a band composed of members of the Egyptian Police Force from Alexandria, who are invited for a cultural event in Petah Tiqva.

    read rest of my review on my blog, please google cinema omnivore, thanks
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 17, 2010
    I just watched this movie a second time. It is a parable of such aching beauty. Every move is so carefully and subtly played out, at onceI just watched this movie a second time. It is a parable of such aching beauty. Every move is so carefully and subtly played out, at once humble and downplayed, at the same time sublime and uplifting. I'm a fan of minimalism for example, of the styles of musician Arvo Part or artist Marc Rothko. This film reflects this tradition, with the simplest of pauses, moments, glances or gestures, communicating from the depths of the soul. Full Review »
  3. ChadS.
    Aug 12, 2008
    All dressed up and nowhere to go, the Egyptian Invasion of Israel gets off to an ignominious start when The Alexandria Police Ceremonial All dressed up and nowhere to go, the Egyptian Invasion of Israel gets off to an ignominious start when The Alexandria Police Ceremonial Orchestra find themselves in the wrong town, the wrong Bet Hatkiva. This Bet Hatkiva is practically a ghost town, whose chosen people, choose to live by the tenets of minimalism. In spite of the orchestra's extended layover, these stoic musicians remain in their formal blue uniforms, which grows increasingly hilarious as they clash repeatedly with the drab interiors and exteriors of the town. The band is like some straight-laced person's acid flashback. The clash of egos between Tewfiq(Sasson Gabai) and Simon(Khalifa Natour), and the filmmaker's absurdest sensibilities, results in a film that suggests "This is Spinal Tap" by Beckett. Tewfiq and Dina(Ronit Elkabetz) sit on a "park" bench, waiting, not for Godot, but for love to arrive. Unfortunately, Dina makes an offhanded comment about Arab men which rankles the lieutenant-colonel; so natural, is the buried expression, like breathing, does her deal-breaking words of racial stereotyping, suddenly politicize their sitting and talking, once mired with great expectations for love. Alas, God rears its ugly head. Wistful, but never gloomy(like the "gloomy girl", a possible nod to Aki Kaurismaki's "Leningrad Cowboys Go America"), "The Band's Visit" shares the same comic touch for miniature emotions as the Finnish master of the subtle ha-ha. Full Review »