The Everyday Absurd: ‘The Band’s Visit’ and More by Eran Kolirin

The Quad is proud to present this retrospective of award-winning Israeli filmmaker Eran Kolirin, leading up to the U.S. release of his latest film Let It Be Morning

With his directorial film debut The Band’s Visit in 2007, Eran Kolirin quickly shot to worldwide acclaim, from the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes (where the film won a Jury Prize) to art houses around the globe. The heartwarmingly-told film follows eight Egyptian musicians (members of the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra) during their unplanned stay in a small town in Israel, effectively stranded for days due to a logistics error and relying on the hospitality and kindness of strangers. The cross-cultural comedy struck a chord with critics and audiences alike — winning eight Ophir Awards from the Israeli Film Academy and later adapted into a Broadway musical, which in turn was one of four musicals in history to win the “Big Six” at the Tony Awards. 

For his next film, Kolirin did not play it safe. Instead of another tender “fish-out-of-water” crowd-pleaser, the filmmaker made the bold move of making The Exchange, an existentially-grappling and thematically experimental comedy. The quirky feature, which screened in the main competition at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, follows a man visiting his life in real time but from an outside perspective and seeing everyday things in and out of multiple contexts. And continuing to zig while others may have zagged, Kolirin’s third film took a more serious route, albeit finding humor and humanity along the way, with the story of an Israeli army vet struggling in his return to civilian life with his family and finding his place in a new Israel. The soldier-coming-home drama Beyond the Mountains and Hills screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.  

Kolirin’s latest film Let It Be Morning proves to be a satisfying and exemplary culmination of his previous work. Adapted from the international bestselling novel by Palestinian author Sayed Kashua, the story follows a Palestinian-born Israeli citizen who finds himself stuck under a military blockade in his hometown after returning for his brother’s wedding. Kolirin takes a humanistic approach to a tough situation, finding the absurd in the mundane and the beauty in a bleak world. 

Co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Past Screenings