Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 26 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra arrives in Israel to play at the opening of an Arab Cultural
    Center. Dressed in full regalia and observing all military police protocol, the members of the orchestra are at a pivotal time in their careers. It’s not just the political nature of an
    Arab military police band playing
    traditional Arab music in Israel that makes this event so important; budget cuts and many reorganizations
    have threatened the continued existence of the Orchestra. Faced with the heavy burden of this assignment, the stoic conductor Tewfiq is determined not to foul their excursion. Despite all Tewfiqs efforts, it’s not long before problems arise. The band arrives at the airport with no one there to greet them. Stranded and unable able to contact their Israeli hosts or the Egyptian consulate for help, Tewfiq decides that the Orchestra will persevere with its assignment and orders, and designates Khaled, a sauve young ladies man, to ask for directions. Khaled and the station agent struggle in English, Arabic and Hebrew to communicate, but despite their best efforts, the Orchestra is sent to the outskirts of a small forgotten Israeli town in the desert. (Sony Classics)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 29
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 29
  3. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 80
    Smart, subtle, deceptively simple little.
  5. The Band’s Visit resounds with tenderness and melancholy.
  6. 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.
  7. A slight but wise comedy about the loneliness that makes all men brothers.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. PatrickT.
    Mar 4, 2008
    You may not have a more thoroughly enjoyable time at the movies this year. Stark yet sumptuous in its implications. Sweet yet devastatingly sad. An immensely pleasurable exercise in contrast and plurality. Expand
  2. 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 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. Expand
  3. 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 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. Collapse
  4. KhanM.
    Jul 13, 2008
    One of the finest examples of film aesthetics. One can never be bored or tired of watching this beautifully made movie.
  5. 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 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
  6. JayH.
    Jul 23, 2008
    Outstanding film, wonderfully directed, superbly acted. Touching, very well written and always interesting. Good score, excellent character development. A winner. Expand
  7. DonnaC.
    Mar 15, 2008
    Charming, but so slow it was tedious.

See all 9 User Reviews