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Live and Become

Live and Become

Director:Radu Mihaileanu
Cast:Yaël Abecassis, Roschdy Zem, Moshe Agazai, Moshe Abebe, Sirak M. Sabahat, Roni Hadar, Itzhak Adgar, Rami Danon, Mandala
Release Date:2005

Part of the Baltimore Jewish Film Festival. At the Gordon Center for Performing Arts in Owings Mills March 28 at 7:30 p.m.

By Bret McCabe | Posted 3/22/2006

This schmaltzy if touching 2005 drama’s preamble tells of the Ethiopian Jews—the Falashas—who in the mid-1980s walked to Sudan by the thousands with hopes of being airlifted to Israel via Operation Moses. Many died en route, often leaving children alone in their new home. Director Radu Mihaileanu (Train of Life) dramatizes the life of one such kid, a non-Jew Ethiopian renamed Schlomo once in the promised land. His story is a tear-jerker—his birth mother passes him to a Jewish woman to escape his home country; this new mother dies once in Jerusalem; he’s a troubled student finally adopted by a loving Lefty family of Egyptian father Yoram (Roschy Zem), a French mother (Yaël Abecassis), and their two children; and he’s constantly eyed suspiciously by everyone because he’s African—complicated by his sometimes crippling anguish over being an imposter. Schlomo (played by the doe-eyed Moshe Abebe as a teen) is physically and emotionally beaten down only to overcome the hardships, thanks largely due to the superhumanly forgiving, caring, and pillars-of-strength women in his life. Told with the Chief Rabbinate’s ill treatment of the Falashas and emergence of the Gulf War and intifadas percolating in the background, Live and Become is less a political movie than a predictable emotional roller coaster about identity, family, and faith that nevertheless stirs the emotions at every turn.

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