Hava Nagila (The Movie)

“Which is more Jewish: gefilte fish or Hava Nagila?” You may wonder what both gefilte fish and Hava Nagila are, but after this entertaining, humorous and insightful documentary, you are left in no doubt as to the significance of what was born from Jewish roots, but which has globally united populations and cultures: the Hava Nagila.

What do the pop singer Connie Francis, the king Elvis Presley, Spock from Star Trek, the film legend Woody Allen, the social activist and singer song-writer Harry Belafonte, all have in common? The Hava Nagila, of course. From its conception in the Ukraine, to Jewish communities in Jerusalem, and to world renowned American performers, the Hava Nagila is no longer just a traditional Jewish folksong, but a worldwide remixed hit.

On the surface, Hava Nagila (The Movie) is a light-hearted account of the history of this Hebrew verse, where the contributors use self deprecating humour and the obvious tone of the film is one of fun. However, what I found more penetrating as a viewer was the passion, the pride and the deep vested personal connections that these people have with the Hava Nagila. As the closing credits rolled, I found myself left with feelings of warmth, joy and gratitude that one song could have such a widespread (and variable) impact across the world.

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‘Hava Nagila (The Movie)’ was screened as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival 2013 at Odeon Swiss Cottage, London, on Wednesday 6th November 2013.Uk jewish film, Film festival, jewish films, jewish festival

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