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The Band's Visit

review by Zach B.



MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Brief Strong Language)

Running Time: 87 Minutes

Starring: Sasson Gabai, Ronit Elkabetz, Saleh Bakri, Khalifa Natour

Written and Directed by: Eran Kolirin


Studio: Sony

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: The Band's Visit: Making The Fairy Tale, Photo Gallery, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English/Hebrew/Arabic Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Scene Selections (28 Scenes)

Released: July 29th, 2008



"The Band's Visit" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. It's a pretty decent, if uneven transfer. The well shot Middle East exteriors look really nice here, with excellent detail. Fleshtones are very accurate, and colors are well saturated: bright and bold, without smearing (those powder blue suits the band wears certainly pop out). I did not see any edge enhancement, either. 

Unfortunately though, scenes that take place at night struggle a bit as far as detail and resolution. There are also plenty of times that the movie looks really grainy, and there are some blemishes and dirt pieces that pop up. Edge halos are a constant presence, and there is some mosquito noise and shimmering to be had. It's a case of taking the bad with the good here, but personally, I wish there was more good.


The Dolby Digital 5.1 track - in the film's languages of English, Hebrew and Arabic - is pretty good. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear, and fidelity is pretty high. The movie is pretty front-centric, but when there are surrounds, they are somewhat discrete and more on the subtle side. The subwoofer doesn't make much of an imprint, either. But adding a warm presence is the score from Habib Shehadeh Hanna, which is key. This mix is far from being a powerhouse, but given the intimate nature of the movie, it is quite suitable.

English subtitles are included.

The highlight of the disc is The Band's Visit: Making The Fairy Tale. Writer/director Eran Kolirin discusses his inspiration for this "fairy tale," how he likes a good metaphor, the themes of the film and how the screenplay took nearly 9 years to complete. The key actors talk about their roles, and from there, there's a really good discussion about Israeli cinema and how this was a very culturally diverse movie. Composer Habib Shehadeh Hanna also goes into his unique work. Despite the length of 14 minutes, this is a very satisfying piece to watch.

Also on the disc is a Photo Gallery, plus the Theatrical Trailer.


"The Band's Visit" is an often amusing and touching movie, about the universal  experiences and interests that really bring people from all walks of life together. The movie's presentation is above average, and other than a nice featurette, there isn't much in way of extras. Lovers of world cinema may want to add it to their collections, but for everyone else this makes a really great rental.