Synopsis:

“An Arab, a Jew, a Chinese, and a Philippine walk to school …” – sounds like the beginning of an old joke, but that’s not the case. These are some of the second-grade pupils attending an Elementary School, in the heart of Tel Aviv. The film follows the class throughout one school-year, which becomes volatile as the Gaza War upsets the social dynamics in the classroom. With poignant intuition and uninhibited directness, unique to eight-year olds, the children point out basic conflicts in Israeli society, deal with painful identity issues, and experience the first cracks in their childhood naivety. 

Director: Netta Loevy

Cinematographer: Emmanuelle Mayer

Screenwriter: Netta Loevy

Editor: Tali Weissman 

Producers: Edna Kowarsky, Elinor Kowarsky

  • Second Prize for Best Documentary – “Spirit of Freedom” – Jerusalem International FF (Israel, July 2010)
  • In Competition The International Women’s Film Festival (Israel, September 2010)
  • Official Selection Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema (USA, October 2010)
  • Official Selection Washington Jewish Film Festival (USA, December 2010)
  • Official Selection Palm Beach Jewish FF (USA, December, 2010)
  • YES-doco, Israel
  • MAKOR Foundation for Israeli Films

“The Israeli educational system is revealed in its full well-meaning incompetence, trying to spread its wings equally over all the children regardless of their origins”. {From the Jury of the Jerusalem Film Festival}

Netta Loevy focuses in her documentaries on social issues, through an intimate dialogue with her protagonists. Her documentary “World Class Kids” offers a unique perspective on Israeli society through the eyes of 8 year old children. Her previous documentary, “The Woman from the Bubble”, dealt with a deaf community, and was screened in festivals around the world, among them: •International Women’s Film Festival, Rehovot, 2008. •Austin Jewish Film Festival, Texas 2009 •WorldFilm -Tartu Film Festival of Visual Culture, Estonia 2009 •Seattle Jewish Film Festival 2009 •Chicago Israeli Film Festival 2009 

Yevgeny showed up in my class one day when I was in Grade Four. As the first immigrant most of us had ever met, our teacher introduced him with a hug and told us he was different. He came from a different culture; he had different customs and traditions. She explained it is up to us to help him become an “Israeli.” Yevgeny didn’t stand a chance. One year later he switched schools, and we went back to a class where everyone was the same. On 1 September, I brought my niece Maya to her first day in the second grade, where she met with Children from 10 different nationalities. No wonder she and her friend Hagara, both of them at least fourth-generation Israelis, invented their own secret language. They also want to feel a bit “different”. Maya’s class represents a silent revolution seething beneath the surface of Israeli society. No one notices, nor prepares for it, especially not the education authorities. Until recently the average child in Tel Aviv could go through life without ever meeting an Arab (except on Saturday, when they go to eat hummus in Jaffa), a Filipino (except the ones who cleaned their apartments), or a new immigrant (except on line at the health clinic). But as far as Maya is concerned, this is the only reality she knows. This revolution films beautifully. The teacher Meirav, a young religious woman, hardly navigates through a maze of holidays, customs, and cultures. Unlike projects to promote integration, the parents and school had no say in bringing the kids together. These are not the children of idealists involved in furthering the cause of world peace. Class 2B is the chance result of random social changes. I began this film hoping to announce that I’d discovered Utopia and found a way to share my values with my niece. What I really found is much more complex and sometimes painful to watch. Jalil is boycotted by some of the kids during the war in Gaza, Alfredo’s parents can only stay in Israel because he was born there, but he feels alienated and would rather go “back” to the Philippines. In contrast, David refuses to go to China so that he can learn Chinese and Meirav don’t succeed to filter the official curriculum so that none of her students will get hurt. But despite the complexities, I found the potential that lies with in class B to be inspiring and encouraging. At the end of the year, while observing this post-modern melting-pot, I find myself smiling.