Band's Visit, The (Bikur Ha-Tizmoret) (2007)

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Released 5-Nov-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Interviews-Crew-At The Movies interview with Eran Kolirin
Theatrical Trailer-The Band's Visit
Teaser Trailer-Madman Propaganda
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 83:26 (Case: 85)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Eran Kolirin
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Sasson Gabai
Ronit Elkabetz
Saleh Bakri
Khalifa Natour
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Habib Shadah


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Every now and then a modest film comes along that captures the hearts of audiences worldwide - The Band's Visit (Bikur Ha-Tizmoret) is one such film. The film did just as well critically, winning countless awards from various film societies and festivals around the globe. The Band's Visit is the debut feature of Israeli writer-director, Eran Kolirin, who has rejuvenated the typical "stranger in a strange land" premise with this film.

    The eight Egyptian members of the Alexandria Ceremonial Orchestra arrive in Israel for a performance at the Arab Culture Centre. Standing proudly in their immaculate pastel blue uniforms, the men tend to blend into the dry and dusty landscape. The veteran and proud leader of the band, Tawfig (Sasson Gabai) is keen for this performance to go well, because the band is currently struggling to sustain their financial viability.

    At the bus depot, Haled (Saleh Bakri) is assigned the task of booking the bus tickets to take them to their final destination. Haled is a bit of a ladies man and is far more intent on sweet-talking the young cashier than concentrating on their intended destination. Subsequently, the band arrives in the wrong town, miles from their desired destination and the performance is scheduled for the very next day.

    Stranded without adequate funds and with no accommodation, the band find themselves at a small restaurant run by the lovely, Dina (Ronit Elkabetz). She kindly feeds the musicians and arranges overnight accommodation for them at various friends' houses. The band members split up and go to their respective host homes for the night.

    During the course of the night the Arab musicians and their Israeli hosts learn that their lives aren't so different. Dina takes Tawfig out for a night on the town - albeit, it's a very quite town. Haled goes to a roller-disco with a romantically challenged couple. Other band members become involved in a very subdued family birthday celebration.

    The events and revelations of the night seem to dissolve into the harsh morning sunshine of the next day. But as the band prepares to leave, it is clear that their brief visit has left an impression on many.

    Performances from the entire cast are first rate and the subtle humour is perfectly pitched. Shai Goldman's cinematography is beautifully framed, conveying the isolation and the landscape with great distinction.

    The Band's Visit was Israel's official entry to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 2008 Academy Awards. However, because the majority of spoken dialogue in the film is English, the film was disqualified.

    The Band's Visit is an unassuming and charming film, which on face value appears to be very simplistic. However, in reality, there is much more going on within the narrative than is initially apparent. Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The Band's Visit is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is 16x9 enhanced. The correct aspect ratio for the film is 1.85:1.

    The transfer has an impressive degree of sharpness and clarity. Some scenes actually appeared close to HD in quality. Blacks were deep and clean, while shadow detail was outstanding.

    The colour palette was generally very soft, with just the occasional splash of vivid colour. All colours appeared totally natural and are beautifully balanced in the transfer.

    To be really pedantic, there is one extremely negligible MPEG artefact in the form of macro blocking, which occurs at 8:56. It must be said, this artefact is barely noticeable during normal viewing.

    English subtitles are available. They are very easily legible in bold yellow.

    This disc is a DVD 9, dual layer disc. The layer change is well placed and occurs at 69:19.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three languages spoken in the film. You might expect Hebrew and Arabic to dominate the film, but English is actually the predominate language spoken in the film. The only audio track on the disc is Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), which is surround encoded.

    I found the dialogue quality to be excellent throughout and there were no apparent issues with audio sync.

    The original music by Habib Shadah is mostly traditional and totally appropriate for the film. Occasionally, he also uses soft piano to great effect in the score.

    The Band's Visit is not the sort of film to benefit much from a big surround mix. I'm guessing that this is probably why we haven't been given the Dolby 5.1 option on the disc. The surround channels mainly carried music and subtle, ambient sound.

    I didn't detect any activity from the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    

Menu

    The main menu is static, 16x9 enhanced and features a sample of music from the film.

 

At The Movies Interview with Eran Kolirin (4:32)

    This very brief interview is courtesy of the ABC program, At The Movies and features director, Eran Kolirin talking about The Band's Visit.

Theatrical Trailer

    The Band's Visit (Bikur Ha-Tizmoret) (1:58

Madman Propaganda

  • Jewboy (1:58)
  • Ushpizin (1:31)
  • Autumn Spring (1:58)
  • Go For Zucker! (2:43)

    R4 vs R1

    NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

        There is a R1 version of The Band's Visit, released earlier this year by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. This version is also in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and features a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. It also has a fourteen minute behind-the-scenes featurette titled, The Band's Visit: Making The Fairy Tale. The R1 version also has a photo gallery (31 images) and the original theatrical trailer.

        Although the R1 edition seems to be a better overall presentation, with all things considered, I would still stick with the R4 Madman release.

    Summary

        The Band's Visit is a warm and unassuming film that has captured the hearts and minds of many filmgoers around the world. The film is beautifully shot, well written and features great performances from the entire cast. The rich, subtle humor and genuine optimism in this film, gives us all hope for a world that occasionally goes mad.
     

        The video and audio transfers are both very impressive.

        The selection of extras is unfortunately minimal.

     

     

     

  • Ratings (out of 5)

    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    Plot
    Overall

    © Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
    Monday, December 29, 2008
    Review Equipment
    DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
    DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
    Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
    AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
    SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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