If spawned from the womb of an alternate universe, with comparable intelligence, venturing into ‘Miral”, ignorant of of the political debacle that created and still exists in Israel/Palestine; England’s clandestine exit and shoddy betrayal; tepidly entertained, mildly confused, concluding, questioning the source and validity of the controversy. Questions unaddressed and unanswered.
Of interest is the love story involving the sublimely beautiful writer Rula Jebreal (whose autobiography the film is based on) and artist, filmmaker, Julian Schnabel; “Miral” is their progeny. Mr.Schnabel’s strong Jewish heritage collides and embraces Ms. Jebreal’s Israeli/Palestinian citizenship; she shares this duality with over 20% of Israel’s population. Those who remained when Israel was recognized as a state in 1948, were legal, legitimate citizens. The film’s focus revolves around three generations of Palestinian women living, adjusting to an intensely adversarial world, fraught with hatred, distrust, tension, nerve- shattering fear; searching for a modicum of dignity in a milieu where strife reigns, compromise futile, intransigent minds lusting for obliteration of the “other”.
Miral (a ubiquitous red flower) played proficiently by Freida Pinto (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is torn between the complacency of accepting the staunch Israeli military presence and the fiery, idealistic revolutionaries whose misguided passions give birth to terrorism, eventual suicide exploders.
Made in Israel and the West Bank the landscape is genuine; segments of footage from 1967’s Six Day War; experiencing 1987’s Intifada plummets Miral into premature adulthood, galvanizing her revolutionary resolve. But the movie dissolves in meaningless obfuscation, the message melts and blurs one’s vision; resulting in meandering manipulation.
Knowing the toxic reaction from sundry Jewish organizations (American Jewish Committee, Simon Wiesenthal Center) about the Israel/Palestine conflict told from the viewpoint of a teenage Palestinian girl; the movie was not worthy of electrifying angst or generating any punitive action or reaction.
“Miral” was a universal effort and all involved should be applauded. Censorship is debilitating, smothers the intellect, cripples ingenuity. Today we are witnessing the suppressed pulverize their oppressors. Jews and Palestinians worked together in the filming process; the result is flagrantly flawed, melodramatic, idiomatically skewered but beautiful because it was allowed to breathe, live and be judged, to be seen or not seen, herein houses democracy.
When asked by Charlie Rose what their mission, goal they longed for in “Miral”, both Ms. Jebreal and Mr. Schnabel resoundingly replied “peace”. I believed them, but sadly realize the few who view this film will leave with their prejudices, bias intact.
TWO & 1/2 STARS