Of late, Eytan Fox, Israel’s finest filmmaker (Yossi & Jagger, 2002), Walk on Water, 2004), seems to be juggling light and heavy topics in his work. His tragic love story The Bubble (2006), chronicling a fraught romance between two men, one Israeli and one Palestinian, was followed by Mary Lou (2009), his made- for-TV frothy musical/drama about a lovelorn drag queen. And Yossi (2012), his sad but hopeful sequel to Yossi & Jagger precedes his latest movie Cupcakes (2013), a bouncy and utterly joyous film about an amateur group of singers who set out to win an international song contest with a simple tune crafted when one of their group has her husband leave her.
That aspect of the story sounds depressing but Cupcakes is deliberately staying away from a downbeat theme, or for that matter, from the political end of things – Israel, even now during its war with Hamas, cannot be defined solely by politics – in favour of a positive message about staying true to yourself and following your dreams. If this were an American movie, you can imagine how sentimental and predictable it might have turned out to be. But Israeli cinema does not traffic in such obvious formulas and Cupcakes never strikes a false or corny note. No surprise there as Fox remains one of the most consistent movie-makers around.