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Live And Become review

In this intimate epic, writer/director Radu Mihaileanu tells the remarkable story of a black Christian Ethiopian child who passes himself off as a Jewish orphan. Airlifted out of Africa in the mid-'80s as part of the 'Operation Moses' scheme to resettle the Falasha Jews, nine-year-old Schlomo ends up in Israel. There, he's adopted by a liberal French Sephardic couple, but for how long can the brave youngster keep his true identity hush-hush?

Spanning some two decades and with three actors playing the central character, this undeniably ambitious film falters in its final third, rushing through Schlomo's medical training, marriage and military service. Yet it remains a heartfelt, resonant work, offering both a persuasive account of an immigrant's experiences and a sense of the tensions and conflicts within contemporary Israeli society.

 

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