the band's visit

Greg and I have this habit... we get together, fully intending to work together on his homework (it's a screenwriting class, and I'm a fairly fast typist), but we end up just hanging out. Watching a movie, going out to eat, whatever. You could say it's because we're lazy or procrastinators (and you probably wouldn't be too far off), but I think it may have more to do with the fact that we genuinely miss each other's company. You know, we were together for a reason... It's nice to remember the good stuff about being his friend, and not just the heartbreaking stuff.

So a few Saturdays back, we did just that... we got together to work, but just ended up going to Landmark's Edina Cinema to see The Band's Visit. (Side note: I could never get him to come see indie movies with me when we were married! What is the deal with that?)


Before seeing this movie, all I really knew about it was what I had seen on the "coming soon" posters around Landmark's theaters. I figured it would be a continuation of 2006's Oscar-winning short West Bank Story, which provided comic relief on the subject of Israeli-Palestinian tensions. I loved that movie, so I figured this one couldn't be all bad. And it wasn't... but I didn't think it was anything like West Bank Story; where that film was wildly hilarious, The Band's Visit was gently touching.

The story centers around an Egyptian (Arab) police band who visits Israel and mistakenly heads to the wrong town. You expect all kinds of crazy Arab/Israeli tension, and there's a little, but mostly the film is just about human beings passing through each other's lives for one day. Everyone in the movie seems a little lost... not just geographically, but personally.

Surprisingly, although the credits are in Hebrew and Arabic, most of the film is in English (which is why it wasn't eligible for the 2007 Academy Award category for Foreign Language Film). There are a few moments, when either the Arab or Israeli groups are alone, when Hebrew and Arabic are spoken, but English seems to be the lingua franca for the two cultures, so that's what we hear most of the time.

And, hey, some of the cinematography kicks ass (see the above still).

It's not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
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6 Response to "the band's visit"

  1. Marilyn says:
    March 20, 2008 at 3:43 PM

    I've been wanting to see this movie. Thanks for a short and sweet review and anecdote about life after divorce. It certainly does exist.

  2. Daniel G. says:
    March 21, 2008 at 10:16 AM

    I'm so glad you saw this. I thought it was touching as well, and a really important cultural piece, too. I thought it did have some pretty funny moments, but it can't be called a comedy in the typical sense. Anyway, I hope to see more like it.

  3. nick plowman says:
    March 21, 2008 at 12:56 PM

    I am dying to see this film. It either opens in SA on April 18 or in May, either way it makes me sick.

    Reading your write up has only made me want to see it more :)

  4. Pat says:
    March 21, 2008 at 3:37 PM

    This film has been on my 'back burner' list for a few weeks - perhaps I can see it next week if it's still in the area.

  5. Anonymous Says:
    March 21, 2008 at 4:16 PM

    Seems like I gotta see that movie. Thanks, Nayana.

    Vitaly-MOW.

  6. Nayana Anthony says:
    March 26, 2008 at 1:08 PM

    Thanks, everyone. I was definitely glad for the opportunity to see it... I haven't made it to the indie theater since. :-( Recessions blow.

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