16 March 2008

The Band's Visit

I don't really have that much to say about this movie, but I feel compelled to mention it because it's a GREAT movie, and you might not have heard of it. It's an Israeli film about an Egyptian police orchestra that ends up spending the night in a rather desolate Israeli town. There's a nice blog entry about this movie here that includes a director's statement, worth checking out.

The movie is mostly in English, with moments of Hebrew and Arabic as well. I wonder if it's coincidence or a feature of cross-cultural interaction, but I was reminded of another excellent film, The Cuckoo, not only because of all the humor that arose from people not speaking the same language, but also because of the curious gentle and yet determined way that people dealt with each other. People treat others in ways that are tender, curious, but also somehow authoritative, but without being patronizing. It's kind of fascinating. Also, why exactly are these scenes where people are talking about each other in different languages so funny?

On the other hand, the cinematography reminded me of the Israeli Palestinian film, Divine Intervention, with its long, slow takes that are absolutely fascinating despite the fact that almost nothing is happening. It worked particularly well in this film because so many of the characters had such marvelously expressive, not to mention beautiful, faces.

Really though, it's a great movie. Highly recommended.

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