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Va, Vis et Deviens (Live and Become) (Go, See, and Become) (2005)

Va, Vis et Deviens (Live and Become) (Go, See, and Become)


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 35
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: Mihaileanu's story of an Ethiopian orphan's struggles overcomes an inflated length and script problems to explore universal issues of racial and religious identity.

Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: Mihaileanu's story of an Ethiopian orphan's struggles overcomes an inflated length and script problems to explore universal issues of racial and religious identity.


Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 5,099


Movie Info

Cultural confusion and the lack of true identity plague a young boy swept away from his mother during a joint American-Israeli rescue mission in director Radu Mihaileanu's fact-based drama. As thousands of displaced Africans crowd into Sudanese refugee camps, American and Israeli troops organize "Operation Moses," a mission aimed at relocating the wandering Falashas to Israel. Forced by his Christian mother to declare himself Jewish in hopes of joining the exile and escaping a grim fate, young … More

Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Radu Mihaileanu , Alain-Michel Blanc
In Theaters:
Apr 7, 2009
Menemsha - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Va, Vis et Deviens (Live and Become) (Go, See, and Become)

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (5) | DVD (4)

The bounty of incident is balanced by knowing humor, compelling characters and a dedicated compassion toward those for whom the search for home sends their head, heart and feet flying in all directions.

Full Review… | June 27, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Don't be put off by the film's length. It's fascinating to see familiar history flash by as a backdrop to the equally compelling account of a life spent in pursuit of totality.

Full Review… | March 28, 2008
Seattle Times
Top Critic

With the secret 1985 airlift of thousands of Ethiopian Jewish refugees into Israel as a historical starting point, writer-director Radu Mihaileanu turns one fictional boy's story into a loaded, didactic drama about survival, adaptation, and identity.

Full Review… | March 12, 2008
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

A stirring and uplifting tale of racial and religious assimilation.

Full Review… | February 13, 2008
New York Observer
Top Critic

Fundamental issues of ethnic and religious identity and the agony of exile are at the heart of Live and Become.

February 4, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

Both a love story and inspirational tale of an individual finding peace with himself in a hostile environment.

Full Review… | February 1, 2008
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The message of this stirring feature is relevant, going beyond its particular political context

Full Review… | June 5, 2011

Sentimental on immigration and assimilation, but intriguingly reflects Israeli diversity, and touching for a guy to survive and flourish thanks to the love of 4 feisty women.

Full Review… | December 17, 2008

If Live and Become told only the story of Schlomo's childhood and adolescence in Israel, it would have been a better movie.

Full Review… | September 19, 2008

This movie, so dramatic and different from any other we've seen about Israel, may well have worked with three other actors. But it's hard to imagine it working as well.

Full Review… | June 27, 2008
Los Angeles Daily News

Writer/director Radu Mihaileanu (Train of Life), an emigrant from Romania, has made a film that is fascinating on different levels....builds to an unforgettable final image.

Full Review… | June 27, 2008
Boxoffice Magazine

At nearly two and a half hours, Radu Mihaileanu's film is unnecessarily long; a few incidents could have easily been cut. But it's still worth the time. It manages to be, at points, heartwarming, tragic, and funny.

June 26, 2008
Los Angeles CityBeat

The first part of Radu Mihaileanu's tale of an Ethiopian refugee's life in Israel promises more than the often trivial soap opera that follows.

Full Review… | March 27, 2008
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

This overlong story of a Ethiopian boy's experiences attempting to pass himself off as Jewish in order to enter Israel, gets bogged down with a meandering script that fails to gain momentum.

Full Review… | February 6, 2008

Earnest and overlong, the result is a meandering short story of a movie that, for all its good intentions and occasional insights, doesn't gel.

Full Review… | February 5, 2008
Film Journal International

The beauty of Live and Become is found essentially in one very specific place - the relationship between Solomon and his mothers.

Full Review… | February 2, 2008

A powerful and poignant film about an Ethiopian Christian's long and dramatic spiritual journey in Israel.

Full Review… | February 1, 2008
Spirituality and Practice

Brother from another temple!

Full Review… | January 31, 2008

The film is long, often tedious, and burdened by sudden leaps forward and a perplexing withholding of information, but not unlike Schlomo, it perseveres.

Full Review… | January 24, 2008
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Va, Vis et Deviens (Live and Become) (Go, See, and Become)


This movie is about a period in history of which I was unaware. Ethiopians claiming to be Jews were taken in by Israel, but not with the approval of all the Israelis, leading to bitterness, dissension, and overt hostility. This is a very moving story about one young man's journey to "Live and Become" -- an Ethiopian Christian forced by his mother to take the identity of a Jewish boy who died, so he can be rescued from their refugee camp in the Sudan, and be resettled in Israel. A rather long movie, but very well done. The final scene is one that I will probably remember forever. Kudos!

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

"Live and Become" starts in the 1980's as Ethiopian Jews are allowed to immigrate to Israel but first must complete a hazardous trek to Sudan, and many die along the way. Hana(Mimi Abonesh Kebede) survives to make it to a refugee camp, host to a mixture of religions, but her son does not. Wanting her son to live and thrive elsewhere, a Christian mother(Meskie Shibru Sivan) passes her son off as Jewish, giving him to Hana to take with her to Israel, where he is now known as Schlomo(Moshe Agazai). He is again abandoned in Israel when Hana succumbs to sickness. So, he acts out in school, even making a futile attempt to walk back to his home country and mother. In order to provide him stability, the authorities allow him to be adopted by Yael(Yael Abecassis) and Yoram(Roschdy Zem), a kind leftist couple.

"Live and Become" is an emotionally complex movie about identity that has a couple of false steps(literally) but otherwise smartly handles the material in epic style. And Israel, for better or for worse a country of immigrants and good intentions, is the perfect setting for such a thorough examination. Difficult as it is for immigrants to adjust to their new country, it does not help when there is resistance from those already there who might see them as either strange or invaders, not liking their skin color or language, even if they share the same religion.(Regardless, we are all the same.) Yael and Yoram handle this situation better than most, even if they may seem condescending at first, aiding Schlomo who is in a harder position than most. Their peaceful humanism contrasts with Israel's recent conflicted history.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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