The immaculately-attired Members of an Egyptian Police Band find themselves stranded overnight in a lonely desert town in Israel. In spite of mutual suspicions, they are nevertheless taken in by a generous divorcee and the clientele of her drab little cafe.
With such a set up, virtually anything could have been made of this culture clash – I mean, it’s virtually Priscilla Queen of the Desert, only with less wigs and no ping-pong balls. Instead, The Band’s Visit is a slow, tender, almost melancholic unwrapping of heartache and humanity that doesn’t really go anywhere. To be honest, it doesn’t really need to. It’s sort of like a pause, a cinematic moment in which the gentle, fragile, still hopeful characters can take a deep intake of breath and reassess for a bit, before going on again with their unexceptional lives.
The Band’s Visit filmed in the town of Yeruham in the Negev Desert – although there’s very little effort made to create establishing shots or define location. It’s the back of beyond and that’s about that.