Avram, an Hassadic hippie; Hassan, an Arab inventor; and Tex, a nonchalant Jew, with so different backgrounds and characters, share a liberal view about sexuality. In a world abiding by the... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Nazim Jabrin
Danny Kinrot
Genia Maimon
Pnina Mankin
Eric Minkin
Jesse Nchisi
Ivan Nissim
Dafna Ophira
Orna Orshan
Yossele Yosilevitz
Benjamin Zemah
Shalom Zilber
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Avram, an Hassadic hippie; Hassan, an Arab inventor; and Tex, a nonchalant Jew, with so different backgrounds and characters, share a liberal view about sexuality. In a world abiding by the strict moral derived from the Dybbuk (sacred book), the three men will go through a number of tribulations concerning marriage. Written by Artemis-9

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marriage | satire | spoof | judaism | See All (4) »


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1976 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

The Black Banana  »

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A Pioneering Israeli film
27 March 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I knew Ben Hayeem. "The Black Banana" was his one feature-length film. He had won numerous awards for his shorts which used to be seen regularly in Greenwich Village movie houses. He was a satirist and humorist but was also passionate about his vision of peace and of sanity in religion. He always wanted to make a movie about Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed coming back to earth and commenting on how their religions turned out.

"The Black Banana" had one legitimate screening in Israel at the first Jerusalem Film Festival. It was immediately banned by the Orthodox-rabbi dominated censorship board. He protested by picketing nude in front of the ministry where that board met. The film was banned because of a scene in a ritual bath and a dream sequence in which the hero was whipped with t'fillin straps. This was considered blasphemous and I doubt even the most adventurous Israeli director has since filmed such scenes.

What was really revolutionary about "The Black Banana" was Ben's use of Palestinian actors in the West Bank, which was a first for an Israeli film. The whole point of this film was the kinship between Jews and Arabs and the film has dialogue in Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic, and English.

The film is flawed, due mostly to a low budget, even by the standards of independent film. There are continuity problems and much of it seemed dated even when it first came out. Nonetheless it was still being shown, sometimes by Ben himself, at kibbutzim and other tiny venues. We here would call it a cult classic and many a film in that genre is weak in production values.

I would love to see it again and share it with friends and congregants (I am a Reform Rabbi). Alas Ben died of cancer before he got his sole feature released as a DVD. Maybe it is still not too late.

BTW His shorts should also be collected and released on DVD. No apologies need to be made about them. They are original and very funny.


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