A very concise and interesting documentary Above and Beyond tells the story of Israel’s war for independence in 1948. For the first time since the valiant group of pilots put themselves in mortal jeopardy, their story comes to a full length movie. It’s a tribute to the word honor and the phrase “for God and Country”. The very significant war happened 67 years ago, but the men who risked their lives and even their US citizenship to defend their roots were still around to tell about it.
It had just been a mere three years since everything was getting sorted out following the German surrender in World War II. The holocaust had been revealed in deathly films that were gut wrenching and sickening. The Jewish survivors were trying to find each other and their state of Israel was on the brink of being recognized as a county. But for the Jewish people who had been persecuted for so long, were now being once again being terrorized.
This time it was the vast army of Egypt and the nations surrounding the holy land that were oppressing the Jews by threatening to push the downtrodden people out of Israel in the face of death. In the United States Jewish pilots who had served in WWII came forward in a show of unity for their fellow brothers to help in any way they could. Even under duress from the United States the men were drawn together to fight for their country against those who would take advantage of their already weakened people.
The documentary is a tribute to a tenacious nation that stood their ground during a period of history gone mad. It was a time where the world worked hard to recover from one of the most devastating wars of the 20th century. But, it’s documentaries like this one, so amazingly produced, that viewers can see the kind of heroism involved in keeping a people free from discrimination and debauchery.
It is the story of the beginning of a nation, men who believed they could defend it and those who lost their lives in the effort. Directed by Roberta Grossman, written by Sophie Sartain and produced by Nancy Spielberg the documentary includes over an hour of actual archival footage, first hand interviews of the men who lived the ordeal and narration by historians. The work of these women shows the devotion to their heritage, people, country and faith.
I commend the editors and researchers who found the actual video, photos and news footage to show how it all actually happened. You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate Above and Beyond for its historical value and heartfelt homage to a people who were caught up in turmoil. The message is loud and clear; if left unsaid, we of any race and creed can find themselves in the same situation of man’s inhumanity to man.
Additional Film Information:
Cast: Lou Lenart, Coleman Goldstein, Leon Frankel, Gideon Lichtman, George Lichter, Benny Morris, Derek Penslar, President Shimon Peres, Jeffrey Weiss, Harold Livingston, Craig Weiss, Smoky Simon, Paul Reubens, Judy Rubenfeld, Mina Alon, and Michal Gonen
Directed by: Roberta Grossman
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, Contains language and war violence
Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min
Release Date: February 13, 2015
Distributed by: Playmount Productions