Bikur Ha-Tizmoret

Israel, France


Once, not long ago, a small Egyptian Police band arrived in Israel.

They came to play at an initiation ceremony but,
due to bureaucracy, bad luck, or for whatever reason,
they were left stranded at the airport.

They tried to manage on their own, only to find themselves
in a desolate, almost forgotten, small Israeli town,
somewhere in the heart of the desert.

A lost band in a lost town.

Not many people remember this.
It wasn’t that important.

Director's Statement

When I was a kid, my family and I used to watch Egyptian movies. This was a fairly common Israeli family practice, circa the early 1980’s. In the late afternoon on Fridays, we’d watch with bated breaths the convoluted plots, the impossible loves and the heart-breaking pain of Omar Sharif, Pathen Hamama, I’del Imam, and the rest of that crew on the one and only TV channel that the country had. This was kind of weird, actually, for a country that spent half of its existence in a state of war with Egypt, and the other half in a sort of cold, correct peace with its neighbor to the south.

Sometimes, after the Arab movie, they’d broadcast a performance of the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s orchestra. This was a classical Arab orchestra, made up almost entirely of Arab Jews from Iraq and Egypt. When you think of the IBA orchestra, maybe the custom of watching Egyptian movies ceremony sounds a little less odd.

The Arab movie has long since disappeared from our screens. TV became privatized, and has sunk out there among the five hundred fifty seven or who knows how many channels that have descended on us. And then the IBA orchestra was disbanded. We got MTV and BBC and RTL and "Israeli Idol" and pop songs and 30-second commercials. So who cares about quarter-tone songs that last half an hour any more?

Afterwards, Israel built the new airport, and they forgot to translate the road signs into Arabic. Among the thousands of shops they built there, they found no room for the strange, curling script that is the mother tongue of half of our population. It’s easy to forget the things that H&M and Pull and Bear and Levi’s etc. make us forget. Over time, we’ve forgotten ourselves too.

A lot of movies have been made touching on the question of why there is no peace, but it seems that fewer have been made about the question of why we need peace in the first place. The obvious is lost on us in the midst of conversations centering on economic advantages and interests. At the end of the day, my son and my neighbor’s son will meet, I am sure of that, in some neon-blinking mall under a giant McDonald’s sign. Maybe that’s some kind of comfort,

I don’t know. What’s certain though is that we’ve lost something on the way. We traded true love for one-night stands, art for commerce, and the human connection, the magic of conversation for the question of how big a slice of the pie we can put our hands on.

Director's Biography

Born in 1973, Eran Kolirin’s first work for cinema was the screenplay for the film ZUR - HADASSIM for which he won the "Lipper Prize” for best script at the Jerusalem International Film Festival in 1999.

In 2004, Eran Kolirin wrote and directed THE LONG JOURNEY, a film made for television.

THE BAND'S VISIT is Eran’s first feature film.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Eran Kolirin

Written by: Eran Kolirin

Cinematography: Shai Goldman

Editing: Arik Lahav-Leibovich

Production Design: Eitan Levi

Cast: Sasson Gabai (Tewfiq), Saleh Bakri (Haled), Ronit Elkabetz (Dina)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Discovery - Prix Fipresci 2007
  • European Actor 2007
  • European Screenwriter 2007
  • Feature Film Selection 2007