Oscar-nominated director Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) returns with the moving Miral, starring Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), and based on writer and activist Rula Jebreal’s first-hand account of her youth in East Jerusalem and exposure to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
With a timescale that encompasses the birth of the state of Israel in 1948 to the ill-fated Oslo peace agreement in 1994, the film begins as Hind Husseini (Hiam Abbass) sets up an orphanage and school for Palestinian children. In 1978, a girl called Miral (Pinto) joins the school. As a child, she’s relatively unaware of the troubles around her; but at 17 she’s assigned to teach at a refugee camp, where she is awakened to the realities of her people’s struggles. Questioning Husseini’s determinedly non-violent stance as the first Intifada gathers support, she finds herself inexorably drawn into the conflict.
Offering a perspective on the Middle East we aren’t normally exposed to, Miral is a courageous and illuminating film, as well as a persuasive appeal for peace in the region.