Hava Nagila: The Movie

A real surprise, Hava Nagila: The Movie traces the history of one of the world’s most recognizable songs with genuine wit and intelligence. Although it has roots in Ukraine, the first time it emerged as the tune we know today was in the 1920s. By the 1950s, it had become embraced by pop culture in the United States, where most of its legacy evidently still resonates, thanks to cover versions by everyone from Harry Belafonte to Glen Cambpell to Chubby Checker. The film also covers, perhaps too briefly, the controversy over the authorship of the song and those periods of time when it has fallen out of fashion as being too cliché. But considering how narrow the target is here – 75 minutes about one melody – Hava Nagila balances information and entertainment really well.

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