Arts & Culture

Review: Live and Become

The State of Israel has to balance on many knife edges, one being the edge between being a "light unto the nations" and being a nation like any other. Israel's film industry is similarly precariously balanced between being particularist and … Read More

By / May 19, 2008

The State of Israel has to balance on many knife edges, one being the edge between being a "light unto the nations" and being a nation like any other. Israel's film industry is similarly precariously balanced between being particularist and general: between being a knowing participant in a global film industry in which national allegiances are at most of secondary importance on one hand and being located very specifically in a geo-political and cultural juncture that informs daily life on the other. Eran Kolirin's excellent The Band's Visit (2007) fits so neatly into the seamless supranational film industry that the Hollywood "Academy" would not even accept it into the foreign film category for the Oscars. On the other hand, a film like Gitai's Kedma (2002) is so caught up in the context of contemporary Israeli culture that, despite its quality, its importance beyond Israel is almost impossible to determine. Treading the knife edge of the specific is Live and Become, a dramatic fictional narrative about Schlomo: an Ethiopian Christian caught up in Operation Moses, the 1984 emergency airlift of Ethiopian Jews from the civil war raging around them.