The Band's Visit (2007) — Israel/Egypt
The case for this DVD advertises that this movie has earned over thirty-five international awards. In my mind it has earned every one of them. Pitched as a comedy, the film moves beyond mere laughs to that deeply human place in each one of us, no matter what your language or culture. Eight members of the "Alexandrian Police Ceremonial Orchestra" from Egypt, complete in their powder blue band uniforms, are on a visit to the Arab cultural center in Pet Hatikvah, Israel. A bad bus ride strands them in the isolated and desolate village of Bet Hatikva. In their broken English, members of the band and their Israeli hosts communicate across the boundaries of language, culture, gender roles, and, of course, millennia of mutual suspicions. But with the help of music and the vulnerabilities they experience because of their predicament, they open themselves up to each others' stories. One reviewer described this film as "lighthearted but not lightweight." In English, Hebrew, and Arabic, with English subtitles.