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Nashville Jewish Film Festival 

When: Nov. 7-15 2012
Maybe this sounds like the punchline to a Borscht Belt comedian’s gag, but no: The opening night film of the 2012 Nashville Jewish Film Festival is indeed Hava Nagila (The Movie). Roberta Grossman’s audience-pleasing doc traces the history of the bar-mitzvah staple, from the tune’s Ukrainian origins to the repertoires of Harry Belafonte and Connie Francis. Studded with unusual celebrity appearances (Leonard Nimoy, Rabbi Yisreal Friedman … Chubby Checker?), it’s a fittingly merry kickoff for a fest that’s as much about food and fun as film. The 7:30 p.m. feature is preceded by a 5:30 reception at Cabana in Hillsboro Village with director Grossman; the festival continues through Nov. 15 at The Belcourt with a mix of profiles (Tony Curtis: Driven to Stardom, screening Nov. 8), foreign films (the French seriocomedy The Day I Saw Your Heart, Nov. 10), and even a smash Middle Eastern comedy from “the Israeli Saturday Night Live” (This Is Sodom, Nov. 10). We’ll have full coverage of the festival in next week’s Scene.
— Jim Ridley

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