The Bands Visit

Starring Sasson Gaabai, Ronit Elkabetz and Saleh Bakri. Directed by Eran Kolirin
Running Time: 86 mins
Rated: Rated M (infrequent moderate coarse language)

What if an Egyptian police band turned up to the wrong Israeli town to play at the inauguration of the Arab cultural centre?

A pleasing premise for a light story of friendship and understanding. Director Eran Kolirin remembers his past when there was such a visit, the days when families in Israel used to watch soap operas from Egypt on TV. He also says that the question for this part of the world is not how peace can be achieved but, more deeply, 'why peace?'.

As we see the band leader reminisce with the woman who owns the bar and they exchange stories, as we see the assistant conductor at home with a husband who has had an argument with his wife, as we see the young policeman coaching a gawky local how to charm a young woman at the local skating rink, something of the answer comes across in a light, often charming, way.

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting

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