Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Interview: Eran Kolirin, writer-director of “The Band’s Visit”

posted by Nell Minow

“The Band’s Visit” is a bittersweet story about isolation and connections. Israeli writer-director Eran Kolirin talked to me about the movie, his first feature film, which follows an Egyptian police band on their way to perform at an Arab cultural center in Israel who mistakenly end up in the wrong city, an isolated outpost where they have to spend the night.

Was there a true story that inspired this movie?

No, not at all. It began with the image of the main character, dressed in a very strict police uniform singing an Arabic song.


A very strict police uniform? That’s a good way to describe it. The image of those pale blue dress uniforms is so striking.

It was an aestheic decision. It is a movie of contraction most of the time. In the frame, in the picture, there is all this monochromatic scenery, and then there is a man who is totally the opposite.

Are the Egyptians in the movies played by Egyptian actors?

All of the actors are Israelis, but two are Israeli-Palestinian and one is descended from Iraqi Jews. Identity in Israel is very complex. My own family is seven generations in Jerusalem. Sasson Gabai, who plays the Lieutenant-colonel, the leader of the band is Jewish by religion, Israeli from his ID card, but comes from an Arab country so he has an Arab background. Saleh Bakri, who plays one of the other Egyptians is Israeli by nationality, Palestinian from his cultural identify, Arab also, and Muslim from religion.


Were there problems of communication or cultural or political clashes between the actors?

You get along fine when you work together.


  • Big_Dave_T

    Wonder if Kolerin had any comment on the socio-political context of this film’s release. Afterall, it was banned from being shown at the Cairo International Film Festival because, well, despite the film’s upbeat premise, Arabs and Jews do not get along that well in real life.

  • Nell Minow

    You are right, Big Dave. I think that is part of what makes the movie so touching and poignant. That is one thing movies do very well — give us a dream of interpersonal possibilities that transcend geopolitical conflicts.

Previous Posts

The Art of More -- Coming to Crackle November 19, 2015
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"] An intense, one-hour drama set in the high-stakes world of New York auction houses, “The Art of More” ...

posted 8:00:00am Oct. 10, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Jon Gries of "Endgame" (and "Get Shorty" and "Napoleon Dynamite")
I'm a big fan of actor Jon Gries, who always brings something very specific and interesting to his roles. In "Endgame," the story of a championship chess team from a school in a poor community from writer/director Carmen Marron, it would have ...

posted 3:27:36pm Oct. 09, 2015 | read full post »

Meryl Streep Calls for More Women Film Critics
The Hollywood Reporter quotes Meryl Streep on the disproportionate number of male film critics on Rotten Tomatoes:  "The word isn’t 'disheartening,' it’s 'infuriating,'” she said. “I submit to you that men and women are not the same. ...

posted 8:00:10am Oct. 09, 2015 | read full post »

Big Stone Gap
Even in small towns, big things can happen. Sometimes the most famous movie star in the world stops by and makes international headlines. And ...

posted 5:51:50pm Oct. 08, 2015 | read full post »

Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore), a 23-year veteran of the police force, learns that she has terminal cancer. And then she learns something even ...

posted 5:50:17pm Oct. 08, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.