The Band’s Visit (Bikur Ha-Tizmoret)

Cert 12

the-bands-visit-bikur-ha-tizmoret-nov-10thAn Egyptian marching band, the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, find themselves stranded in an Israeli settlement while on tour. There is no bus until the next day, so they have to throw themselves upon the hospitality of the isolated townsfolk. This is the debut film of Israeli director Eran Kolirin, who avoids an obvious political narrative, and builds an understated observation of loneliness infused with pathos. Slowly paced, the film extracts humour from the situation in a rather desolate landscape. “It’s powered by excellent performances – just the right side of deadpan – and never gets remotely preachy. The Arabic-Hebrew credit roll gives you some idea of writer-director Kolirin’s ambition.” Andrew Pulver, The Guardian. (Cert 12)
Dir: Eran Kolirin 82mins Isr/USA/Fr 2007

Programme Notes

This music comedy drama was written and directed by Eran Kolirin (The Exchange, 2011; Beyond the Mountains and Hills, 2016). The titular band is compromised of Egyptian police officers, who are travelling to Israel for a cultural ceremony at an Arab arts centre. Lead by Lieutenant-Colonel Tawfiq Zacharaya, played by Sasson Gabai (Rambo III, 1988; When Pigs Have Wings, 2011), they have to find their own way to their destination but, after a series of errors and misunderstandings, end up in a remote, similarly named, village in the middle of the Negev desert.

Will they get to the ceremony on time or, on the other hand, will they come to appreciate the welcome by, and the common connections with, the bemused villagers following their unexpected arrival in a place where, as one of the characters puts it, “there is no culture of any kind” ?


“A lovely, smart, and beautifully understated film” David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle


I loved this film. Made, beautifully, small (but) important points about the kindness of strangers. Lovely acting and cinematography, too. Thank you!

Thank you ABCD for finding such a little gem. This is why you join film societies!

I loved this film – it just got better and better

Deeply moving and thoughtful – and devoid of any bitterness

I really liked this film – so subtle, whimsical and sensitively told. A real gem!

A lovely, simple film which said a lot about life. Beautifully acted

Delightful  very expressive acting, given the relative lack of dialogue

A sweet story

Charming – so unusual

Delicate, moving and very witty – with no significant stereotyping

I liked the tentative closeness between strangers – the film would repay being seen again

Plenty of warmly funny moments but suspension of disbelief was required when the actors were ‘playing’ their instruments

Gentle love, gentle love. Let’s love!

Perhaps Egypt should be allowed into the Eurovision Song Contest. Quite funny at times

I found both films difficult to comprehend

Both films too enigmatic for me

Needed a bit more …. [blank]. Shouldn’t the credits have (sc)rolled down the screen?


A:15, B:14, C:8, D:1, E:0 to give 78% from 95% of those present.