Flix you up

A poignant moment from the festival darling <span style="">Live and Become</span>, one of many identity-probing films on offer this weekend.

A poignant moment from the festival darling Live and Become, one of many identity-probing films on offer this weekend.

One thing movies are still good for is looking closely at how we become who we are. Consider, for instance, this weekend’s special screenings.

Foremost is the ninth annual Sacramento Jewish Film Festival, held as usual at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street. It begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with the Northern California premiere of a film that’s been mopping up audience awards at film festivals from Berlin to Boston, Live and Become. In the famine-ravished Ethiopia of the mid-1980s, a Christian mother sneaks her little boy into a group of Ethiopian Jews bound for Israel, with instructions that he make a life for himself there by feigning a Jewish identity. What then? Go see.

Other identity-probing festival fare takes on Auschwitz, the tango (with a dance presentation by Sacramento’s Tango by the River) and a Middle Eastern spoof of West Side Story. Tickets cost $9.50 per film, or $8.50 for seniors and students. For more information, visit www.thecrest.com or call (916) 442-7378.

Also on Saturday, at 8 p.m. in the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall, Ric “Ken’s brother” Burns debuts his documentary about Eugene O’Neill. What a life story this guy has: the Broadway-hotel-born offspring of an actor and a morphine addict; the flunker out of Princeton and Harvard; the roaming dabbler in odd jobs; the tubercular, bed-ridden autodidact disciple of Friedrich Nietzsche and August Strindberg; and, finally, the giant of American dramaturgy, who, with work like The Iceman Cometh and Long Day’s Journey into Night, forced the stage play into our conception of high art and became the nation’s only Nobel Prize-winning playwright. The screening will precede a discussion between Burns and O’Neill biographers Arthur and Barbara Gelb. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Call (530) 754-2787 or visit www.mondaviarts.org for more information.