Whenever I stumble across an absolutely pitch-perfect, flawless comedy like The Band's Visit, it makes me want to hunt down anyone who's every made a crappy film that's supposed to be funny and pummel them while yelling, "You are a fucking douchebag for thinking you know how to make movies!" And then I want to track down all the actors in those movies and kick the shit out of them too while screaming, "You are a fucking insult to humanity for thinking you're funny!"
The many awards that The Band's Visit has won at festivals around the world (including at Cannes) don't come even close to doing justice to this small film about an Egyptian police band that ends up stranded in the wrong town when they go to Israel to play a concert at an Arab Cultural Center. While it may seem that the film is a political one (indeed, it was banned in Egypt because the Egyptians and Israelis in the movie effortlessly commingle—GASP!), The Band's Visit is primarily about people, about love, about art, about connection, and it's a very warm and humane film that, despite your worldview, will make you (at least temporarily) fall in love with—I'm serious—the entire human race!
If you want to be an actor, it would behoove you to study the droll and wry perfection and comic timing by every single person in this movie, from the leads right down to the last supporting character. And if you want to be a filmmaker, go out on a quest to find writer/director Eran Kolirin (who spent nine years writing the script—yeah, writers, fuck you too!) and beg him to teach you everything he knows not only about cinema but about life.
Aside from the laughs, The Band's Visit is chock full of deeply moving characters, scenes, and metaphors that in and of themselves are remarkable acts of transcendence. The trailer doesn't quite capture the hysterically funny and sometimes sad heart of the movie, but it will have to do:
It's only clear to me now that the absence of The Band's Visit from My Ten Favorite Movies of 2007 list is a travesty of justice. If I were to make that list today, this film would go very near the top.
By the way, if you see this film and hate it, I'll have you know that we can never ever be friends. Ever.