Limor and I are trying to get some sort of “Culture Thursdays” tradition going on, where we would watch some sophisticated movie or otherwise engorge on some high-society culture. This would be either every Thursday or… some other combination which would allow us to observe the Sabbath efficiently. (Side note: define “efficiently” as adequately addressing the following problem: on Friday nights we can’t go out by car, nor can we watch a movie, so both such activities should be relegated to Thursdays — but we can’t quite do both [in the same night] on a Thursday, and staying in on a Thursday means staying in on a Friday is less desirable… Basically, you can see how planning this ‘tradition’ quickly turns into an optimization problem, and this is even before the first line by Humphrey Bogart.)
However, even without finalizing the exact details of the aforementioned future ‘tradition’, we kicked it off with the Israeli film “The Band’s Visit” (“ביקור התזמורת”). I have ambiguous feelings toward the Israeli cinema. As a self-identifying fan of Hollywood films (to be discussed IAP, In Another Post), I am always wary of sub-par performances and production. This is a problem with any low-budget film but with Israeli films in particular, probably due to my intimate familiarity with the cultural norms, it seems the professional compromises and cinematic (story and otherwise) shortcuts are especially evident to myself. (On the other hand, it certainly might be that my national criticism is the root cause here, but the end result of ultimate dissatisfaction is the same.)
In any case, the film was enjoyable, at least to our exhausted selves. I did not feel it was above the standard Hollywood cut, but it did succeed in what I expect from a good Israeli movie to do: showcasing local characters and situations well enough to provoke empathy despite lacking dramatic cinematic developments.
Maybe I’m just a sucker for Israeli movies set in Development Towns (“עיירות פיתוח”). I loved “Turn Left At the End of the World” (סוף העולם שמאלה), which perhaps will highlight our next Culture Thursday.