With her incisive, occasionally humorous and ere-affectionate documentary The Chosen Ones, filmmaker Wendla Nölle cross-sections the many variants of neo-generational Judaic music in contemporary Manhattan. As if defying those who might expect a more homogeneous portrait, Nölle weaves a multicolored tapestry of young Jewish men and women determined to express the zeal for Hebrew traditions in a myriad of ways. Profiled are such subjects as an Orthodox rabbi who writes humorous melodies as commentaries on hot-button social issues such as the Israeli-Palestine tumult; a multilingual Orthodox rapper who works Talmudic lessons into his raps; and a blues maestro who sets cantorial chants to traditional African rhythms. The diversity here is evident, but connecting each individual is an overwhelming desire to innovatively combine a shared ethnic and spiritual heritage with the many strands and colors of a cosmopolitan mass culture.
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