Artist turned director Julian Schnabel managed to make a film about a man with one of the most terrifying illnesses I can imagine into a genuinely uplifting experience with 2007’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” Now he takes on probably the most single most contentious issue in all of world politics, Israel-Palestine, in “Miral.”
Take a look at this French trailer for the English-language film, written by Palestinian-Italian journalist-author Rula Jebreal, adapting her own novel. “Miral” stars a slightly de-glammed Freida Pinto of “Slumdog Millionaire” and Arab-Israeli actress Hiam Abbass.
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” ran the risk of being a drippy in terms of being a bit of rather conventional arthouse fare/Oscar-bait, but he was quite adept at transcending that at every turn there. Let’s hope he and writer Jebreal — working in, or being translated into, English — pull off the same trick here.
Clearly, the film-makers are hoping for a large audience for “Miral.” Considering the subject matter and what looks like an honest but evenhanded treatment of the ultimate hot-button topic, I kind of hope they get it; I also hope all my Jewish relatives see it. I hate to say it, but too many people — and not only Jews — have allowed support for Israel to become translated into what I see as a near complete lack of awareness of the humanity of Palestinians.
H/t /Film. (I have to say I’m not sure I agree with Brad Brevet about the Tom Waits song at the end. Maybe it’s a bit of cultural stereotyping on my part, but when I think about the problems of a teenager in modern day Palestine/Israel, I don’t think of Waits’ bluesy tones, so popular among middle-aged ex-bohos in L.A. and New York.)