The Band's Visit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Band's Visit
The Band's Visit.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEran Kolirin
Written byEran Kolirin
Produced byEhud Bleiberg
Koby Gal-Raday
Guy Jacoel
Eylon Ratzkovsky
Yossi Uzrad
CinematographyShai Goldman
Edited byArik Leibovitch
Music byHabib Shehadeh Hanna
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 19 May 2007 (2007-05-19) (Cannes)
  • 13 September 2007 (2007-09-13)
Running time
87 minutes
United States
Box office$14.6 million[1]

The Band's Visit (Hebrew: ביקור התזמורת, romanizedBikur Ha-Tizmoret) is a 2007 comedy-drama film, directed and written by Eran Kolirin, and starring Saleh Bakri, Ronit Elkabetz, Sasson Gabai and Uri Gavriel. It is an international co-production between Israel, France and the United States.

The film received acclaim from critics and audiences. It won eight Ophir Prizes awarded by the Israeli Film Academy.[2] It was Israel's original Foreign Language Film submission for the 80th Academy Awards, but was rejected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because it contained over 50% English dialogue.[3] Thus, Israel sent Beaufort instead; Beaufort was eventually included in the five final nominees.[4]


The eight men of the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra arrive in Israel from Egypt. They have been booked by an Arab cultural center in Petah Tikva, but through a miscommunication (Arabic has no "p" sound, and regularly replaces it with "b"), the band takes a bus to Beit Hatikva, a fictional town in the middle of the Negev Desert.[5]

The Egyptians encounter a few Israeli townspeople, who respond with curiosity about the band, are variously friendly and wary, and provide them with shelter, food, music and companionship during their visit. There is no transportation out of the town that day, and there are no hotels for them to spend the night in.

The band members dine at a small restaurant where the owner, Dina (Ronit Elkabetz) invites them to stay the night at her apartment, at her friends' apartment, and in the restaurant. No one quite falls in love, but a sense of unspoken longing and loneliness is expressed.[6]



Critical reception[edit]

The Band's Visit received critical acclaim. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 98% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 116 reviews with an average of 7.9/10. The site's consensus states: "The Band's Visit is both a clever, subtle, slice-of-life comedy, and poignant cross-cultural exploration." It also received a Golden Tomato for Best Foreign Film of 2008.[7] On Metacritic, it has an 80 out of 100 rating, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[8]

Ray Bennett of The Hollywood Reporter named the film the second best of 2007,[9] V.A. Musetto of the New York Post named it the 8th best film of 2007,[9] and both Ella Taylor of LA Weekly[9] and Associated Press film critic David Germain named it the 9th best film of 2007.[10]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times selected it as one of the 20 best films of 2008.[11] According to Ebert, "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."[12]

Gabai's characterization and playing of Tawfiq Zacharya was hailed by critics, who described him as "an actor of real skill, and an artist capable of the deepest understanding of the human condition."[13] During the Israeli Film Academy Awards in September 2007, Bakri, "the band's handsome young trumpet player"[14] thanked his parents and said, "I want to thank my father, who taught me to love mankind, and my mother, who taught me to bear the burden of life in this country and stand strong," he said.

For her role, critics described Elkabetz as "wonderful ... a kind-hearted lonely heart refusing to wilt in her desert town".[15] During the Israeli Film Academy Awards Ceremony in September 2007, Elkabetz brought a message of reconciliation and hope, and after taking a bow before the film's director, she said to him, "You reminded us of a thing or two that we have already managed to forget. You showed us what would happen if we would stand before each other, Jews and Arabs and look each other in the eye."[4]

The skating rink scene is considered a highlight of the film:[16] "The band's handsome young trumpet player, Khaled, who idolizes jazz icon Chet Baker, encounters the resident Papi[clarification needed] (Shlomi Avraham, שלומי אברהם [he]), an Israeli nebbish and accompanies him on a blind date at a roller-skating rink. When the local boy proves too awkward to make any advances to his date, the more experienced Egyptian guides him along, wordlessly, but with eloquent gestures."[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Best Art Direction – Award of the Israeli Film Academy
  • Best Cinematography – Award of the Israeli Film Academy
  • Best Editing – Award of the Israeli Film Academy
  • Best Sound – Award of the Israeli Film Academy
  • Best Supporting Actress – Award of the Israeli Film Academy
  • Best Screenplay – European Film Awards
  • Best Performance by an Actor (Sasson Gabai) – Asia Pacific Screen Awards
  • Grand Prix – Flanders International Film Festival

Language disqualification[edit]

Under the rules of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, more than half the dialogue in a foreign film entry must be in the originating country's own language to qualify for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. However, The Band's Visit, whose Egyptian and Israeli characters communicate mainly in broken English, didn't meet the requirement and was disqualified by the Oscar committee. Even so, Sony Pictures, the film's distributor, entered it in the general Oscar categories of best picture, director, screenplay, actor and actress – none of which came through for the film.

"Nobody in Israel thought about the language problem," said Kolirin, who spent four years making the film. When he heard about the adverse American decision, "I was pissed off for a few days, but I've gotten over it," he said during a visit to Los Angeles.[18]

Stage adaptation[edit]

The film has been adapted into a stage musical of the same name. The musical's book is written by Itamar Moses with music and lyrics by David Yazbek. It opened at the Off-Broadway Linda Gross Theater, produced by the Atlantic Theatre Company, on 11 November 2016, closing on 8 January 2017. Directed by David Cromer, with choreography by Patrick McCollum, the cast stars Tony Shalhoub, John Cariani and Katrina Lenk. Later during the Broadway run as well of the United States National Tour, Sasson Gabai would reprise his role as Tewfiq in the stage production.[19][20][21]

The musical won the 2017 Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best Musical, the 2017 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding New Musical, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical.[22][23][24] The production transferred to Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, with previews beginning on 7 October 2017 and full opening on 9 November.[25] The musical was the biggest winner at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards, which were presented 10 June at Radio City Music Hall, winning ten awards, including Best Musical.[26] It also won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album at the 2019 Grammy Awards. Gabai reprised his role as Tawfiq for the Broadway production that began on 26 June 2018.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Band's Visit". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  2. ^ Yudilovitch, Merav (28 October 2007). "'The Band's Visit' wins Tokyo festival". Ynetnews. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  3. ^ "Israeli film wins country's first two European Academy Awards". Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b Birenberg, Yoav (21 September 2007). "The Band Visit's victory". Ynetnews.
  5. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Dargis, Manohla (7 December 2007). "Strangers in a land that's not so strange". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  7. ^ "The Band's Visit". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  8. ^ "The Band's Visit". Metacritic. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "2007 film critic Top Ten lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  10. ^ David Germain; Christy Lemire (27 December 2007). "No Country for Old Men earns nod from AP critics". Columbia Daily Tribune. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2007.
  11. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Ebert's Top Movies of 2008". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger. "The Band's Visit". Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Dracher". Message Boards. IMDb.
  14. ^ a b Tugend, Tom. "Israel's Band's Visit finally plays L.A." Film. Jewish Journal.
  15. ^ "Ronit Elkabetz". IMDb.
  16. ^ "Bikur Ha-Tizmoret". 21 March 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  17. ^ Boy Villasanta (21 October 2008). "Cinema One Originals movies dominate 10th Cinemanila award rites".
  18. ^ "Film: Israel's 'Band's Visit' finally plays L.A. | Arts | Jewish Journal". Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2009.
  19. ^ Clement, Olivia. "'The Band’s Visit' Musical Begins Tonight Off-Broadway" Playbill, 11 November 2016
  20. ^ Ezovski, Mark. "David Yazbek Previews New Musical 'The Band’s Visit' at Feinstein’s/54 Below" Playbill, 29 July 2016
  21. ^ Simoes, Monica. "In Rehearsal with Atlantic Theater Company's 'The Band's Visit'" Playbill, 13 October 2016
  22. ^ McPhee, Ryan. " 'The Band's Visit' and 'Oslo' Win 2017 Drama Critics’ Circle Awards" Playbill, 8 May 2017
  23. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Ben Platt, 'The Band’s Visit', and 'Oslo' Take Top Honors at 2017 Lucille Lortel Awards" Playbill, 7 May 2017
  24. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Bette Midler, 'Come From Away', and 'The Band’s Visit' Win Outer Critics Circle Awards" Playbill, 8 May 2017
  25. ^ Levitt, Hayley (24 May 2017). "The Band's Visit Will March to Broadway This Fall". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  26. ^ Hetrick, Adam (10 June 2018). "The Band's Visit and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Win Big at 2018 Tony Awards".
  27. ^ McPhee, Ryan (11 June 2018). "Sasson Gabay, Star of The Band's Visit Film, Will Step into the Tony-Winning Musical". Playbill. Retrieved 19 June 2018.

External links[edit]