Live And Become (2005)

by stronged

Stars: * * *

Directed by:

Radu Mihaileanu

Yaél Abecassis, Roschdy Zem, and Moshe Agazai.


Set in the mid to late ’80’s when the black Falashas in Ethiopia were acknowledged as true Jews by birthright and transported to Israel to continue their following of their faith in the holy land. Tells the story of a young Christian boy who is smuggled out of Ethiopian famine into a new life with an adopted family in Israel. He must keep the secret of his past faith and mother (back in Ethiopia) to himself as he adapts to this new lifestyle and into the young man he is to become.


Very slow. However, if you stick with it it becomes a tremendously life affirming and nourishing experience for people of all ages (to be enjoyed with the family, especially mothers). Beware, it is an epic spanning over 20 odd years.


Great to learn about this black spot in history that i was not privy to before experiencing this film. Goes to show that bigotry exists in all contexts and generally is the challenge that all Jews seem to encounter at one stage in their lives.

Very many themes appealed to me in this film. Learning about Jewish culture; the acclimatisation from one culture to another; exploration of issues of adoption and identity; applying oneself to life’s challenges (overcoming great obstacles); etc.

Made by a French Jew this film is accessible to most demographics for it is told from an outsiders point of view of a densely complex period in world history. I feel Mihaileanu went about making this film in an authentic manner, casting many locals who had experienced this turbulent transition of cultures first hand. However, this immediately set up a compromise when filming this epic for such talent are not accustomed to prompt portrayals of their characters therefore he would have to linger on shots instead of setting up an efficient rhythm of storytelling. So the film borders upon over-the-top romantic in nature due to this fact. Unless perhaps i am just a cold-hearted  man who cannot appreciate the romanticism of such emotional shifts? I dunno.