Country: Israel
Director: Eran Kolirin
Stars: Saleh Bakri, Ronit Elkabetz, Sasson Gabi, Uri Gavriel

Fish-out-of-water stories have long been commonplace in movies, but very few navigate those comically deep waters quite like The Band's Visit. It's the story of an Egyptian police band stuck in Israel, and all of the complications, goofy set-ups, and unexpected personal connections that arise. Political and social taboos are smashed, with interracial romance (between an Israeli and a Palestinian), and the underlying sense of melancholic drama keeps writer-director Eran Kolirin's subdued comedy rooted in pathos.

But the movie's overall charms, namely its top-shelf performances and persistent playfulness, make sure the mood never strays too far from being pleasantly accessible.