An Israeli film about an Arab band reminds us that love conquers all A gentle and humane comedy filled with compassion for the human condition, The Band's Visit is a beautiful film that shows us how to free ourselves from the boundaries of race. Directed by Israeli filmmaker Eran Kolirin, the movie tells the story of an Arab band from the Egyptian police force who visit Israel to play at the inaugural ceremony of an Arab cultural centre. Due to a mix-up over names, the band members take the wrong bus and are left stranded in a small town somewhere in the middle of a desert, where, according to Dina (Ronit Elkabetz), an attractive restaurant owner, there is 'no Arab culture, no Israeli culture and no culture at all'. Welcome to Bet Hatikva. Led by the stern and upright Lieutenant Colonel Tewfiq Zacharya (Sasson Gabai), the hungry band members spend the night with local residents. Some stay with Dina while others sleep in the home of an unemployed man, whose wife is obviously unhappy about the intrusion of strangers. Nothing particularly eventful happens. But as the night wears on, the comedy gradually becomes profound and touching as the foreigners interact with the townspeople. Both parties soon realise that, despite their cultural and religious differences, they all share the same hopes and desires. Throughout the evening, stories about lost love, missed opportunities and family tragedies are shared. Each character has a unique personal history to which we can relate, showing we are all connected by the universal language of hope and sympathy. A particularly touching episode involves Dina, the only person in the movie who seems to be capable of choosing the direction she wants her life to take, and Zacharya, who is filled with emotions despite being a man of very few words. Sitting on a bench with Dina, who obviously adores him, the reserved musician slowly opens up and begins to talk about fishing. This leads him to talk about his deceased wife, and then, finally, his son, who committed suicide years before. It is gentle yet painful and heart-breaking moment. But Kolirin is far from being a pessimist. In a lovingly comedic scene, he has the handsome violinist from the band, an experienced womaniser who seizes every chance to flirt with any girl he comes across, lecturing an agonisingly shy young Jewish man on the matters of courtship. The scene is particularly touching and hilarious when you consider the fact that these young men have been taught for years to be suspicious of each other. The fact that they put their differences behind them to discuss this universal emotion proves the power of love. The Band's Visit refreshes your mind and makes you feel immeasurably better about yourself. Even though we know life is always going to be far from perfect we can make it enjoyable. The musicians remind you that life is a gift.