The latest Jewish historical docu produced by Oscar-winner Rabbi Marvin Hier (“The Long Way Home”), “In Search of Peace — Part One: 1948-1967” is a sprawling, exhaustive account of the first two decades of the nation of Israel and the ensuing Arab-Israeli peace conflict. The first in a planned trilogy designed, optimistically, to conclude with the signing of a final peace agreement between Jews and Arabs, it’s a timely, noble undertaking ill-served by a dry, history-textbook style that is at once too much and not enough.
Director Richard Trank has uncovered stunning archival footage, but he uses it at the expense of his many on-camera subjects, who are mostly relegated to disseminating hard facts rather than telling their unique stories. Pic’s narration, voiced by Michael Douglas, is a nonstop assault of facts and figures and dates and names hurtling so fast that people and events aren’t allowed sufficient impact. End product, despite its intelligence, transforms one of the century’s greatest human interest stories into a lifeless, impersonal diorama.