Va, vis et deviens/Live and Become - Schlomo's Story

Alliance Atlantis
Duration: 124min
Category: drama
Available: On DVD
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Va, vis et deviens (or Live and Become in English… somehow managing to loose the “Go” in translation) is a moving story about a young African boy whose mother makes him pretend to be Jewish so he can be rescued from genocide and taken to Israel to live with an Israeli family. In the process he overcomes racism, religious intolerance and the general fish-out-of-water things to become a doctor who returns to Africa to find his mother.

As you can see there are really no surprises in a story like this. Instead, Va, vis et deviens is about the power of the emotions behind the story. The film maker generally taps into these fears and passions very well making young “Schlomo’s” story a powerful one.

The film slips a little because, despite the long running time, the film maker has difficulty connecting ideas. Moods, positions and attitudes change on a dime. The film never sets up jumps in time well enough for the audience to expect them. The result is logic jumps that don’t feel cohesive. For example despite Schlomo getting along very well with his adopted father suddenly they are estranged and fighting all the time.

There are also a number of plot changes that the film doesn’t set up well. Schlomo’s wife is portrayed throughout Va, vis et deviens as being iconoclast and rebellious, even cutting herself off from her conservative father to marry an African. Yet she reacts far too extremely when he tells her the truth about his non-Jewish background. Despite the film having portrayed her in a completely different way, she suddenly has no understanding of the rather obvious reasons for his lies. There is never a satisfactory explanation for this or other reactions that occur throughout.

Still, despite these flaws, the story is powerful and engaging and the ending (where Schlomo accidentally stumbles across his mother in a sea of sick refugees) sucks you in despite being completely unbelievable. Not a bad night’s entertainment but not overly impressive either. For the easily touched, Va, vis et deviens will be quite moving. For the more cynical, hopefully it will melt their cold hearts a little.

Review By: Collin Smith

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