Va, Vis, et Deviens
Live and Become
Directed by Radu Mihaileanu
It took me around three days and five separate sittings to finish this film. I enjoyed it, but I did feel like I was watching the story that wouldn't end. I even cheered when it was finally over, which, if you have watched the final scene in this film, is beyond inappropriate.
Shlomo is a Christian boy who is disguised as an Ethiopian Jew by his mother in order to be sent to Israel during Operation Moses. His mother believes that Israel is a magical place, free from famine and torment. Schlomo leaves his sickly mother and pretends to an orphan. Schlomo is adopted by two loving parents, but remains haunted by his secrets.
Maybe I have read too many Dickens novels, but I was shocked that Schlomo's new family was kind and gentle. The most touching scenes in this film came from Schlomo and his adopted mother, like when she licked his face in the middle of the schoolyard to show that Schlomo was healthy and loved. Gross, but nevertheless touching.
The narrative definitely threw me. I was expecting a Europa Europa-esque tension, where Shlomo's secret was in constant danger of being revealed. Instead, the filmmakers just seemed content to tell a simple story about love and family.
I do think about forty minutes could have been shaved off this film. I think the story faltered a bit when Shlomo became an adult. Man, they really didn't care about making any of the Schlomos look alike, did they?
Won awards at the Cannes and Berlin film festivals.