On World Movies Channel I saw an Arabic movie called ‘The Band’s Visit’. It has a very thin storyline but makes up an entire movie without a dull moment anywhere. The movie is so different from the one back at home. It is like the European movies – short span of time depicted, yet so many sub-plots and myriad emotions packed into a short hour and a half movie.
Story goes like this. A Egyptian Police Orchestra visits Israel to play at an Arabic Art Center but they land at the wrong place and the bus that would take them to the right place is a day away. With the band members, who are tired and hungry, threatening to walk away, the band leader “General Tawfiq Zachayria” has no choice but to knock on a local restaurant door. The owner Dana seems very rude at first but she turns out to be the most helpful for their overnight stay in the locality. She takes the General on a guided tour of the town, sorta like a date and they surprisingly(even to them) enjoy eachothers company. The next morning they are off to the bus stop again to catch the bus to the Arabic Art Center.
Each character has an importance in the movie each expression a meaning. Like the guy who stands by the telephone all night waiting for a call from his girlfriend, he waits every night, the band are told. We almost give up but the guy doesn’t, till finally the girlfriend really does call. The other locals who give the band members hospitality. Their faces are a treat to watch when they hear the band play them a little song and tell them their background.
Dana tells the General a sorry story when they get back from their dinner date. Which probably was the reason why she seems so indifferent to life. But the General who looks so stoic on the outside surprises us with an even sadder story of his life.
Towards the end of the movie, when the band is leaving, the General tells the café lady that she is a “Good Woman” catching the lady offguard and making her eyes well up. That overwhelmed me too.
That’s the reason for this blog.
I give it a 4.5 of 5 stars.