Posted at 5:52 PM on February 2, 2008
by Euan Kerr
Israeli director Eran Kolirin blasted through town Friday to chat with people about his movie "The Band's Visit." He said he was cold, and no matter how much we told him he was lucky he hadn't come two days earlier, it didn't make a difference.
"The Band's Visit" is Kolirin's film debut, although he has done a fair bit of TV before. The film tells the story of an Egyptian Police Band, which arrives in Israel to play at the opening of an Arab cultural center. When no-one meets them at the airport, they decide to try to get to the small town by themselves. They end up stranded in a dusty dead end town, where most of the residents also feel stranded and are eager to leave if circumstance would only allow.
The band's misadventures have a bittersweet humor around them which reminds me of the early Bill Forsyth movies, "Gregory's Girl" and "That Sinking Feeling."
Kolirin says he was surprised when people started laughing at parts of the film when it first started on the festival circuit. He has always thought the story was purely a melancholy tale about "lost people and the other lost people they meet," as he put it. However he says people react the way they react, and if they find elements funny, who is he to say they are wrong?
When I asked him what he had learned from his directorial debut, he said it was to have the confidence to ask for help. He said he spent a lot of time putting on an all-knowing facade, when in reality he was out of ideas on how to solve certain problems. He says life got easier when he asked for help.