The film’s story puts Pinto into the challenging role of Miral, based on the autobiographical novel of the same title by Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal. ‘Miral’ emotionally illustrates the plight of a young orphaned Palestinian girl growing up in East Jerusalem who is confronted by the effects of the occupation and the Arab-Israeli war in every corner of her life.
The film is absolutely timely in that it comes at a moment when the entire Arab world, and especially its youth, is erupting in popular non-violent protests.
If there is a film that could provide historical context to the fight for freedom, equality, and dignity that has overtaken the Arab street, it is ‘Miral’. South Asians across the world will identify with the non-violent call to action of the film as homage to the same course Mahatma Gandhi took during the Indian Independence movement in the 1940s.
Freida Pinto plays the character Miral brilliantly as the story details this young Palestinian woman as she becomes politically conscious and joins a non-violent uprising to achieve freedom for herself and her people. The struggle of the Palestinian youth of Miral’s generation has echoed across the region and is now returning home to Jerusalem where it all began, during the events of the film. Women are on the front lines of the struggle for freedom and human rights in the Middle East and ‘Miral’ tells the personal story of three generations of Palestinian women who were predecessors to the women revolutionaries who have captured the world's imagination on the streets of Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Libya.
With the hotbed of controversy arising from the political stances on both sides regarding Israel & Palestine, Harvey Weinstein told The Hollywood Reporter that the controversial movie is not anti-Israeli, but "a pathway to peace and a beautiful coming-of-age story”. He came out strongly against critics who claim the movie ‘Miral’ is anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli. "The people who don't want you to see the movie for political reasons are crazy or wrong," Weinstein continued with The Hollywood Reporter at a disputed United Nations screening of the film. "I think the idea is, let there be peace." The film, which screened on Monday March 14, 2011 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall, faced significant protests from Jewish activist groups, as well as Israel directly, who attempted to block the screening. Since then several prominent Jewish organizations, including J-Street and Jewish Voices for Peace, have risen up in support of ‘Miral’ and its filmmakers. Many other organizations are following; support has been growing since Monday.
Miral goes beyond the complex politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and provides an in-depth and emotional portrait of the women who must not only survive it – but who will end up defining it. ‘Miral’, while a deeply personal story, is an eloquent call for equality between Palestinians and Israelis. The artistic collaboration between a Palestinian writer (Rula Jebreal) and a Jewish-American Filmmaker/Artist (Julian Schnabel) embodies the film’s message of peace. “I’m hoping that this film could in its own small way, begin a much needed national (US) conversation about this highly controversial issue,” declared Schnabel at the UN General Assembly screening. It seems that America’s most famous living painter and filmmaker is well on the way to do just that. As with Julian Schnabel’s previous films, ‘Miral’ is a touching and provocative film sure to leave audiences talking.
Watch Freida Pinto star as Miral on opening night March 25th in New York & Los Angeles. The film will be screening at The Lincoln Plaza and The Angelika in NYC with Julian Schnabel & Rula Jebreal available for Q&A sessions for the opening weekend. In LA, the film will play at The Landmark and Arclight Hollywood with possible Q&A planned for the second weekend.