Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Controversy Over 'Miral'

I'm hoping to head up to the Landmark tonight, in West Los Angeles, to catch "Miral," the new pro-Palestinian film from director Julian Schnabel. I'm skeptical of the review at the Los Angeles Times, which quotes Schnabel in defense of his movie:

Using the touch-points of 1967's Six Day War and 1987's intifada, when teenage Miral is galvanized into action by the sight of Israeli bulldozers razing Palestinian homes, Schnabel paints a convincing picture of displacement and life under occupation. Without undue emphasis, he and cinematographer Eric Gautier use the parched landscape — they filmed in Jerusalem — and its checkpoints to eloquent effect.

The film works best in its depictions of everyday negotiations, as when Miral's cousin begins dating a Jew (played by the director's daughter, Stella Schnabel).

"Miral" doesn't aim to present every point of view, only that of its characters. There's nothing "anti-Israel," as some have claimed, about its earnest, if simplistic call for compassion and peace. One of the strongest scenes involves a would-be act of terrorism by a Palestinian and unequivocally identifies with the intended victims. And Miral's journey leads her back to her gentle father (Alexander Siddig) and to Mama Hind, voices of patience, moderation and love.


Moderation and love. I doubt it, but I'll have more after I see the film.

Schnabel's full interview is at Boston Globe, "Schnabel describes 'Miral' using fine brush strokes."

Meanwhile, from Solomonia, "An Open Letter to Harvey Weinstein":

On the same day that a family of five were being murdered in their home in Israel, Harvey Weinstein ran a self-congratulatory promotional piece for his company’s terrorist propaganda flick, Miral. The photos stand out. The fat smirking face of Harvey Weinstein contrasted with the sleeping baby, the smiling little boys and the earnest couple who were their parents. They are all dead, and a Harvey Weinstein lives on to smirk another day. So it is with perpetrators and victims. The innocent children and the fat ugly men who profit from trafficking in the narrative of their killers.

Harvey Weinstein denounces Peter King and urges him to go watch Miral. But perhaps it is Harvey Weinstein who should drive to a small town lost in the Samarian Mountains and retrace the steps of the murderers in the name of the nationalistic mythology that movies like Miral glamorize. To fit himself through the living room window where the two terrorists entered, moving quietly in the dark, not seeing the six year old boy sleeping peacefully on the couch. That six year old boy who survived because like so many other little boys during the Holocaust, the men who were coming to murder him went right past him without seeing him. The six year old boy who was being orphaned around the same time that Harvey Weinstein and his PR people were conferring on a final draft for their Miral puff piece.
More at the link above, and also, "Elder of Ziyon: Miral, the Posters."

More on this later ...