Live and Become (Va, Vis et Deviens) , directed by Radu Mihaileanu (2005, France/Belgium/Italy/Israel, 140 min., in Hebrew/French/Amharic with English subtitles, 35mm)

Radu Mihaileanu directs this magnificent, epic story of an Ethiopian boy who is airlifted from a Sudanese refugee camp to Israel in 1984 during Operation Moses. Although Shlomo grows up and thrives as an adoptive son of a loving family, he is plagued by two big secrets: He is neither a Jew nor an orphan, just an African boy who survived. Three different actors, including, as the adult Shlomo, Sirak M. Sabahat, who made his own trek across Ethiopia to an airlift to Israel, portray Shlomo at various stages of his life. Israeli actress Yaël Abaccasis and French actor Roschdy Zem movingly portray his adoptive parents.

Said New York Times film critic Stephen Holden: “… Live and Become exerts a tidal pull. It makes you feel the weight of history, of populations on the move in a restless multicultural world. It makes you reconsider cultural assimilation, a process that may seem to be complete but whose underlying conflicts may never be fully resolved.”

Live and Become won the Audience Award for Best Feature Fiction at the 2005 Boston Jewish Film Festival, where actor Sirak M. Sabahat was present. It also won the Prize of the Ecumenical July at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival and a César (French Academy Award) for Best Screenplay.

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