Home > Cinema > Va, Vis et Deviens (Go, Live and Become)

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

A story of a young Ethiopian In Israel 

Radu Mihaileanu is a French film director of Romanian origin who was awarded the best screenplay prize in 1998 for his film “Train de vie”.

His 2005 film  is about  a young Ethiopian in Israel and through him, the story of thousands of Ethiopian Falashas or Bete-Israel (House of Israel), exposed to the torments of integration.

The story started in 1984, during the Derg regime. Thousands fled home to the refugee camp in Sudan, to escape from famine and political oppressions. Most of them were falashas   who at home were isolated from mainstream Judaism, with a dirty label ‘Buda’ or ‘Evil-eyed’.

 Israel and America organized ‘Operation Moses’ to take them to the ‘Holy Land’.

An Orthodox Christian mother in Sudan refugee camp claimed she was Jew and managed to put her 8-year-old boy in the convoy that was leaving for the airport. The impoverished ‘Shema’ wearing mother said to her  son  ‘hid, nur and sew hun’ (Go, live and Become) that  became the title of the movie.

 Upon arriving in Israel, with the help of a young woman who were taking care of him, he declared to be an orphan and he was put in a camp for a while where he started to be tormented by the lies. At the camp, he gave the caretakers one hell of a life, fighting with the kids and running away at night.

 Soon, he was adopted by a Tel-Aviv dwelling French Sephardim family and re-named Schlomo. His adoptive mother Harari  (Yael Abe Cassis) was an affectionate and loving woman who with the real acting.

He was made to wear kippa, and attended regular school and religious class, too. He grows into handsome Afro boy who managed to be a focus for young Tel Aviv girls. Later, he settled for a pretty white Jew whose father has bigotry for black people.

 Terrified of being revealed and shaken to the core by the completely different Israeli culture, Schlomo does his best to adapt his new surroundings.

Schlomo’s story could represent thousands of Falashas who went to Isreal looking for “The Holy Land” but found it not as welcoming as they thought. There were many who doubted their true Jewness; with the claim they are there to escape their grim reality at home, not for spiritual reason.

It was a French friend of mine, Pascaline Dacharry who lent me this DVD, among a million good things she did to me.

 Even the Alliance Library came to own  this DVD when she gave them  her own copy that she bought in France.

 Much of the dialogue is in Amharic, a rare western film that  even my mother was able to understand. The problem is, when the dialogue is Amharic and Hebrew, it has French subtitle, of course. But when there is French, there isn’t subtitle, which, I imagine  makes it difficult for non-French speaker to comprehend.  

Otherwise ,it is a worthwile movie.I enjoyed it immensly. 



www.vavisetdeviens-lefilm.com/ – 6k

Categories: Cinema
  1. Tomas
    June 30, 2006 at 10:12 am

    Hi, Arefaynie.I like to see this film. Do I check for it at the Resource Center of the Alliance?

  2. Getnet Melaku
    June 30, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    It is too long.

  3. Yulia
    July 7, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    contrary to what you said, this film is biased towards blacks.
    the young man’s girlfirend told him often he is red ,not black.that is how she came to accept him.Thisisn’t a compliment to black people.

  4. sunny
    July 14, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Yulia,

    Be called who you are is not a problem. Why would you call someone “red” if they are not native americains. Could you like to be called something you are not? Being called “black” is not offensive. Circumstances or context if you will determines if it’s racist.

  5. sorecarul
    July 20, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    It’s not what you are called that matters,

    Dou you know who you are?

  6. October 8, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    I found this a touching movie and I liked the interpretation “red as the earth God used to create Adam”. But your discussion seems to be focused on what it means to be someone and to discover who you really are. That may be a quest for the entire life and some of us may not even realize it not even at the end of life.

  7. Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
    December 17, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    One of the utmost greatest movies made so far in this century. But
    excuse me for pointing out that some details in the plot summary above are wrong. The 9-year-old boy’s biological mother is a Christian (like her son) and never pretend to be anything else. But the son of a Jewish mother dies the day before the journey to Israel. SHE takes knowingly the Christian boy with her and with HER son’s name (Schlomo). But upon arrival in Israel this first stepmother dies. So THEN he is left alone to find out what ideas and rules are Mosaic. Read the further details in the plot summary by IMDB, which I have written.
    French, Hebrew and Amharic are spoken in the movie. A DVD is published in which ALL talk is subtitled in French. In Canada a DVD dubbed into English is released. I do not understand a word of Hebrew or Amharic, and very little French, and might not have been able to follow the DVD if I had not previously seen the movie in the theatre (five times with English subtitles and once with Danish). Nevertheless, I would thoroughly dislike to miss the original languages – not least the short vowels and guttural consonants of Hebrew when Schlomo’s wife Sarah lives him (though his second adoptive mother reconciles the couple). Sarah does not give a damn whether Schlomo is a Jew or not, but she is seriously angry and disappointed because he had concealed it for years and did not have confidence in her. For his sake she had lost her whole family (her father is an extremely racist white Jew) and her own status as a “white Jew” when she married him. This is a fantastic scene. I would rather listen to her voice (Roni Hadar is an exceptionally gifted actress) and reading subtitles (e.g. “You have 30 seconds to say that this is not true”).
    At the present date (2006-12-17) separate subtitles can be obtained from internet in Spanish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Czech. This might be an indication that English subtitles may soon become available.
    Many spectators have been very impressed by the music, which has been released on CD, and especially by the song when Schlomo and Sarah dance in the street after he had been thrown out as a fake-Jew from her birthday feast by her fathers (sung in English: “Everytime you say goodbye I die a little”).

  8. Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
    December 17, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    Permit me to make some personal comments to YULIA’s words above. – Nowhere, absolutely nowhere on this planet can any human being be found who is BLACK. Nor does such a thing exist as a WHITE human being (not even albinos are white). Just try to compare their skin colour with a colour scale.

    So there is nothing pejorative in saying that Schlomo is not black but red.

    One of Sarah’s pet names for him is “Redskin”.

  9. Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
    December 17, 2006 at 6:07 pm

    When “Va, vis et deviens” was shown at the French Film Festival in Stockholm this year, it received a rating of 3,77 where 4,00 was the maximum. This is the highest rating ANY French movie has ever got since the annual French Film Festival started many years ago.

  10. Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
    December 17, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    About the French Film Festival: I forgot to say that it was the rating of the audience.

  11. Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
    December 17, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    More about YULIA’s words above. (Well, sorry that I sometimes forget some part of what I wanted to say.)
    Sarah does not say that she came to love Schlomo because he is red. Actually, another boy named Itai was in love with Sarah. He was not skilled in writing love letters and paid Schlomo to formulate them. Sarah immediately understood that Schlomo had invented the text. And on their wedding night she says explicitly that it was these love letters that made her fall in love with him.

  12. Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
    December 18, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    Sorry, now I have got this movie on my mind, it seems to absorb all my attention for a while. I would definitely not try to say that the scene when Sarah leaves Schlomo is the only superb one. The director Mihaileanu must have an incredible capacity for influencing children. The first time Schlomo is dusched and washed by a nurse in the arrival camp he is astonished: he has never before seen so much water coming from one source. But he gets a serious anxiety attack when he discovers that all this water is just wasted through a hole in the floor.

    The children have never seen TV before. In the appropriate room in the arrival camp only one child is sitting BEFORE the TV. Some 25 children are sitting BEHIND it, looking very attentive, because they are convinced that sooner or later a door will be opened and some people will come out of the TV.

    But returning to the scene when Sarah leaves Schlomo, I would in particular note THE EXPRESSIVE USE OF THE LIGHT.

  13. Yaya
    December 19, 2006 at 7:37 am

    This may be of interst to those in Washington, D.C. area.
    “Live and Become”, an excellent and emotional independent film regarding an Ethiopian boy’s journey from a refugee camp in Sudan to Israel through Operation Moses, an operation which involved the air transport of some 8,000 Ethiopian Jews from Sudan to Israel in 1984-85. However, the boy’s arrival in Jerusalem is not the end, but merely the continuation of the trials and tribulations he faces in the forms of identity crises, religious confusion, alienation, and racism.

    This compelling film is being shown at the Avalon Theater (202-966-6000) located on 5612 Connecticut Ave. between McKinley St. and Western Ave, in Washington, D.C. I encourage you to watch it.

    Watch the trailer!
    http://www.washingt onpost.com/ wp-dyn/content/ article/2006/ 12/15/AR20061215 02032_pf. html

  14. Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
    December 23, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    A friend of mine have actually found a version on internet with subtitles in English. Unfortunately most of the movie is dubbed in French, which means that we miss some of the best performances of both Roni Hadar and the child Schlomo.

    Subtitle-makers have to obey certain rules about the maximal number of letters to use during a certain interval of time. But this is not reason why one important line is missing. Well, Schlomo eventually goes to the police and reports that he is not a Jew. The police officer just gives him a scolding: “The newspapers are full of that stuff, the Falashas are no Jews. And now they begin to believe it themselves.”

    There are plenty of room for the following line, but it is not subtitled: “THERE ARE 12 SUICIDES A MONTH AMONG THE FALASHAS”.

  15. ANNA
    May 7, 2007 at 2:37 am


  16. August 10, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Very useful and informative blog. Recommended for all to see.

  17. anna
    November 14, 2007 at 5:55 am

    where can I see or buy this film?
    It’s the best ive ever seen, and Ive seen many

  18. Idetrorce
    December 15, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  19. May 8, 2009 at 10:36 am

    NpBIfw comment1 ,

  1. April 30, 2007 at 10:43 am
  2. August 4, 2007 at 10:40 am
  3. August 6, 2007 at 12:21 pm
  4. August 7, 2007 at 1:19 am

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