Monday, 5 April 2010


“What is tolerance?  It is the consequence of humanity.  We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature.” -Voltaire

As all good things come to an end, so did this brief holiday over the Easter weekend. It was a beautiful, restful few days with friends, family, good food and beautiful weather. It is such pleasant, short and relaxing breaks that help us to restore our energy and assist us to find the courage to continue with our daily grind.

We watched an interesting movie from Israel today. It was Eran Kolirin’s 2007 “The Band’s Visit”, a film which he both wrote and directed. The plot is deceptively simple and pace is relaxed and gentle, with some remarkably good performances by Sasson Gabai and Ronit Elkabetz as the two leads, Tawfiq (the Egyptian band leader) and Dina (the Israeli shopkeeper).

The story concerns an Egyptian police band from Alexandria who goes to Israel for a concert to celebrate the opening of an Arab culture centre. The band arrives, but unfortunately due to a mix-up nobody is waiting for them at the airport and they decide to catch a bus and get to the town where they are expected to play on their own. They get hopelessly lost due to misunderstanding caused by a mispronunciation. They are marooned in a small town with nowhere to sleep and with little Israeli money. The kindness of the locals, headed by the outspoken Dina does a lot to highlight the commonality of human experience between the Arab and the Jew, the Egyptian and the Israeli, the man and the woman.

This is film that is made with consummate skill and is never forced. The story develops effortlessly and the interactions of the characters are natural and one can see that the tension between the two cultures and the two peoples dictate the initial awkwardness, suspicion and prejudice. The intimacy that develops between Tewfiq and Dina is a delight to watch and the help and advice one of the band members gives to a romantically challenged young Jewish boy is classic!

There is wisdom, gentle humour, earthiness and a delightful affirmation of humanity in this film. As a bonus, the music is very good and the song at the end of the film is worth waiting for as the credits roll through. Get your hands on it and watch it. It is an unexpectedly offbeat and delightful movie.


  1. Another one for my Netflix queue. I already watched last week's Facing Windows, and it was as wonderful as I expected. I enjoy your recommendations!

  2. This sound like a good movie, Nic!!!
    I'll try and find it to watch.

  3. Glad you liked "Facing Windows", Becky!