'The Band's Visit,' a pleasingly pokey comedy set in Israel, is guided by director Eran Kolirin's light touch. 'Youth Without Youth' is the first film by Francis Ford Coppola in a decade. But is it any good?
New in theaters The Band's Visit (PG-13)
Director: Eran Kolirin. With Saleh Bakri, Khalifa Natour, Ronit Elkabetz. (86 min.)
This pleasingly pokey comedy is about the arrival of the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra in Israel to play at the opening of an Arab Cultural Center. Through a series of mishaps, they end up in a small town in the desert instead. Dressed in military uniforms in the baking sun, they find shelter for the night in a small cafe run by a free-spirited woman (Ronit Elkabetz) who gradually breaks down the reserve of the band's ramrod conductor (Sasson Gabai). Writer-director Eran Kolirin has a gentle touch, although the film is too self-consciously sentimental.Grade: – Peter Rainer
Youth Without Youth (R)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola. With Tim Roth, Alexandra Maria Lara, Bruno Ganz, Marcel Iures. (109 min.)
Francis Ford Coppola's first film in 10 years, based on a novella by Mircea Eliade, is a true oddity. Tim Roth plays Dominic, an aging Romanian professor of linguistics who, on Easter Sunday 1938, is hit by lightning and has his youth restored to him. What follows is a hallucinatory odyssey in which the professor, without aging, moves decades ahead in time through Malta and India and finally back to Bucharest. Dominic is accompanied by a double who only he can see and who acts as the voice of doom as, one by one, the people who matter most to him, fall away. Borderline incomprehensible and often exasperatingly arty, "Youth Without Youth" is nevertheless a movie that, somehow, successfully conveys a great deal of heartbreak. It's a personal film in the best and worst senses.
Grade: – P.R.