Israeli film on Egyptian band banned in Egypt

It was touted by the film critic from Egypt today as the best Middle Eastern film to be shown at the Cannes film festival in May – ‘a pure apolitical, delightful and entertaining story’ about an Egyptian band stranded in an Israeli town. But for the Cairo film festival to show The Band’s visit was too much ‘normalisation’.

Israelinsider reports:

The producer of a new Israeli movie about an Egyptian band visiting the Jewish state thought that he could use art to help bridge the rift between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

But after the film was banned by both the Cairo International Film Festival and the festival in Abu Dhabi, Eilon Rachkovsky, the producer of “The Band’s Visit,” said he realized that “the time is not yet ripe,” according to Ynet.

“We were hoping to succeed where the diplomats couldn’t,” he continued.

The multifaceted comedy leaves politics aside, highlighting aspects of the human condition that everyone is vulnerable to : loneliness, love and frailty.

The organizers of the Egyptian film festival said they feared the political and diplomatic consequences of a movie that demonstrates Egyptians engaging in regular, and even sexual, interaction with Israelis.

“If we were to show this film, it would be considered normalization [of relations with Israel],” the organizers of the festival said in a statement after viewing the movie.

The organizers also cited a love scene between an Israeli female protagonist, Ronit Elkabetz, and one of the Egyptian musicians, played by Saleh Bakri, saying that it was “shocking and will not be well-received.”

The film festival in the Arab Emirates banned the film after the Egyptian Actors’ Association threatened to boycott the festival if the film was screened.

Meanwhile, the Band’s visit is being considered for two prizes by the European Film Academy: Best European Film of 2007 and the European Discovery Prize of 2007.

Read article in full

AFP report here

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  • Had been wanting to see this film since hearing about it and want to thank the filmmakers for this movie. It is so touching.
    J. Holt

  • One of the best films I’ve seen. Complex, interesting, poignant, loved the different connections people are making with the local townspeople.


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