NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

Live and Become (Va, Vis et Deviens) Film Review

By     get stories by email

Ethiopian Identity at Issue in Coming-of-Age Flick from Israel

9 year-old Schlomo (Sirak Sabahat) ended up in Israel in 1985 as part of Operation Moses, a humanitarian airlift of about 8,000 Ethiopian Jews fleeing religious persecution in their native country. The only thing wrong with this picture is that the little boy didn't deserve to exercise any right of return like his fellow refugees, given that he was actually a Christian whose starving mother had him take the place of a child who had died.

Nonetheless, upon his arrival in Tel Aviv, he is presumed to be a Jewish orphan by the couple who adopt him, Yoram (Roschdy Zem) and Yael Harrari (Yael Abecassis). While hiding the fact that he is neither Jewish nor orphaned, Schlomo does his best to adapt to the culture and customs of the Holy Land.

Live and become

However, he soon finds that even if he were Jewish, most white Israelis seem to have a problem with his skin color, and don't real consider him one of the Chosen People. This proves particularly challenging when he hits puberty and takes an interest in girls, especially Sarah (Roni Hadar), whose racist father doesn't want his daughter dating a black kid.

These sort of fish-out-of-water scenarios abound in Live and Become, a coming-of-age, assimilation saga which covers 15 of Schlomo's formative years. Over that timespan, we see the lost lad grow into a man while grappling with assorted identity issues. To its credit, the film fleshes out his character, treating him not as a freak or a curiosity but as an ever-evolving human experiencing a full range of emotions.

Consequently both his enduring, if awkward relationship with Sarah and his barely-tolerated presence in Israel in general combine to create a complicated and compelling character study which ultimately tells us as much about Schlomo's tortured psyche as it does about an abundance of universal themes, from intolerance to abandonment to the need to belong. Brother from another temple.

Excellent (4 stars)
Unrated
In Amharic, Hebrew and French with subtitles.
Running time: 140 minutes
Studio: Menemsha Films

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

When Hollywood releases a violent action film, 'loosely-based' on truth, it's certain that Hollywood is about to play fast and loose with the historical record.
Prairie Miller has a conversation with Will Smith, David Morse and Concussion director, Peter Landesman, plus news of the Zomba Prison project and Star Wars.
The Women Film Critics Circle is a gathering of national and international women's voices presenting a fresh and differently experienced viewpoint from the primarily white male dominated film criticism world.
Surreal sequences instead of theme, and pretentious vinaigrettes replace what should be a slice-of-life experience. It is art house, without the art, tedious to watch.
This true story about a transgender man suffers badly from overkill. At two hours, it's too long; the music is too dramatic; the actors try too hard and there's much too much crying.
Prairie Miller talks to Elizabeth Hurley about The Royals, and to Nina Paley, artist, filmmaker, animator, cartoonist and free culture copyright activist.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2016 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site