The Band's Visit, a 2007 Israeli film, will be screened at The Athena Cinema on Wednesday.
Eight men in sky-blue uniforms find themselves stranded in the desert. It's not the beginning of a bad joke; it's the inciting action of The Band's Visit.
The 2007 Israeli film follows the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, from Egypt, as it mistakenly finds itself in a small town in the Negev Desert in Israel. With no transportation out or hotels available to stay in for the night, the band ends up staying with local Jewish Israelis.
The Band's Visit will be screened for free at The Athena Cinema, 20 S. Court St., on Wednesday in an effort to show students a side of the Middle East that is rarely discussed. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., but the show will start about 15 minutes later, following a short introduction.
The film won eight Ophir Awards, the Israeli equivalent to an Oscar.
The showing is sponsored by Hillel at Ohio University, Bobcats for Israel and the Israel on Campus Coalition.
Diana Wahl, president of the Bobcats for Israel, said the film is being shown to teach students that there is more to the Middle East than what the news portrays.
"Israel is a very fun-loving place. People there are very nice to everyone they meet." Wahl, a senior studying marketing and sports administration, said. "I think (The Band's Visit) shows a good side of Israel and...of people from outside of Israel trying to get to know the lay of the land and the people."
Mikel Zeidenstein is a peer network intern at Hillel at Ohio University, and he echoed a similar sentiment about the way the media portrays the Middle East, particularly Israel and Palestine, through a lens clouded by conflict.
"It’s not all violence always. It can be about unity and a peaceful atmosphere," Zeidenstein, a junior studying economics, said. "Hopefully, people learn a little bit from that mutual connection that they share because they’re human first before they’re Israeli or Arabic.
The Band's Visit is told primarily in English, though Arabic and Hebrew are also spoken at times in the film. The foreign languages should not be a problem for the moviegoers, Zeidenstein said, as the entire film is subtitled, even the English sections.
Because the film is comedic rather than serious, Zeidenstein said college students should find it easy to enjoy and relate to. He added that music has the power to break cultural barriers.
"(The Band's Visit) kind of shows two cultures clashing, and then they find common ground between each other through music," he said. "For the most part, it's just a feel-good movie."