The opening section is full of suspense and danger. Can Schlomo convince the Israeli authorities that he’s a Jew? After his interrogation on Israeli soil, a boy a few years older has his cover blown and is roughly escorted from the reception hall, shoved into a car and driven away to be repatriated. Schlomo gets by, but his ailing surrogate mother dies.
Live and Become is a powerful and engaging film. Director Radu Mihaileanu ambitiously tackles themes of identity and love as reflected in the racial, social, political, and religious problems of immigration and assimilation. In his struggle to survive in Israel, Schlomo finds many allies beyond his parents. His grandfather (Rami Danon) provides moral support and visits him at a Kibbutz that he helped found. Schlomo comes to rely upon the wisdom of an Ethiopian rabbi, Qes Amhra (Yitzhak Edgar), who meets with him regularly and counsels him when he enters a debate and comes up with a spiritual interpretation of the skin-color of Adam. At a turning point in his life, Schlomo encounters a tolerant and positive-minded policeman who admonishes him to rebuff those who would deny his dignity and human rights.