This week I went to the movies to see an Israeli comedy made for children. The movie theater was filled with elementary school kids. My grandchildren aren't old enough -- so why did I go? Because recently I was asked to research Israeli films that would be appropriate for Jewish elementary schools and middle schools in the U.S. This one fits the bill!
Guavas, directed by Kobi Machal, is a comedy for children with lots of singing and dancing, on a surprisingly high and professional level. The film mixes talented young actors, singers and dancers with muppets (in the Sesame St. style), a fair amount of foolishness, and good-natured slapstick.
The story is about a 12-year-old girl named Billy who moves with her parents to a small town populated with all sorts of weird characters, including the muppet janitor of her apartment building, the over-the-top hair stylist, the evil and manipulative municipal worker, and Billy's new friend -- the nephew of the head of the town council.
Billy is a real heroine, helping the town's citizens organize against the destruction of the guava tree on her street. Although this is a film for children, there are political overtones, making fun of urban planning issues and municipal workers interested only in their own self-interest (a breed which is not lacking in this country).
Confronting the bulldozer that comes to destroy their apartment building in preparation for building a highway through the town, Billy sings, "It's time to make a difference," which is obviously a voice for standing up against bulldozers which destroy homes (specifically Palestinian homes that are built without permits). She also sings, "change will come from the street", which is a reference to the middle class street protests of a few years ago.
Guavas is in simple Hebrew and would be great as a Hebrew-teaching tool in Jewish Day Schools!
No vulgarity. No nudity. No violence.
Produced by United King Films.