The Film Society sponsors a free screening of "The Band's Visit" at the Half Moon Bay Library.
“Eran Kolirin's debut film is about the comedy and tragedy of the things that separate people: borders, religions, languages and loneliness. It's a small, profoundly satisfying movie that keeps echoing long after it's over.” Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
The members of the Ceremonial Band of Alexandria Egypt hopped on the wrong bus on their way to a gig at an Arabic Cultural Center in cosmopolitan Israel. The bus stops, they get out and find themselves stuck for the night in a remote Israeli town with no cultural center and no hotels. The locals don’t know what to make of the crowd of strange Arabs dressed in power-blue police uniforms carrying tubas and ouds. The only language they all speak in common is a halting English. Thus begins a day and night of cultural awakening writ small.
Dave Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle called this "a lovely, smart and beautifully understated film.” He also said: “While this is a film about Egyptians wandering around the Israeli sticks, it is not overtly political at all. Whatever happens between Cairo and Jerusalem happens as far as these people are concerned. They're just trying to get on with their lives and perhaps find a little meaning as well. By the end of the short but perfectly pitched gem, we understand that its apparently observational distance has not only given us precious insight into the lives of ordinary Israelis and Egyptians, but, tacitly, a sense of political possibility as well.”
Slowly the locals begin to take pity on the lost Egyptians and offer them a bed here, a couch there to rest their weary heads for the night. There is lot going on in this film, but it is all very subtle. As a result, the Band’s Visit does not provide “any of the narrative payoffs we might have expected” but it does provide “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." wrote Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Parental Advisory: PG-13 for some coarse language in English.
Please note: Like the Ceremonial Band of Egypt, the Film Society finds itself spending the night in a strange place. We can't afford the new rent charged at our old venue. Thankfully the Half Moon Bay Library has offered us a place to rest our weary head for this screening. We are looking for a new permanent venue, and welcome your support and suggestions as we wonder the lonely desert looking for a new home.
More info at: www.HMBFilm.org