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Review: Miral

A tale of female empowerment
By TOM MEEK  |  April 7, 2011

Julian Schnabel, a painter by trade, comes at his films (all bio-pics) with passion and élan. That worked in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, but not here, where the subject — the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East — is messy, complex, and vast. Schnabel wants to create an epic that analyzes the existence of the Jewish state. He also wants to tell a tale of female empowerment, so he cuts the film into titled chapters about four strong Palestinian women. Only two, however, resonate: Hind (Hiam Abbass), a real-life Mother Teresa who founds a school for girls orphaned by the struggle, and Miral (Freida Pinto from Slumdog Millionaire), a student of Hind's who gets mixed up with a PLO operative. Schnabel, a Jew, takes a Palestinian slant (the only Israelis depicted are Gestapo-like soldiers), and the push for a resolution is spot-on, but the didactic approach and hodge-podge structure diminish the film's heart and Schnabel's dreamy imagery.

  Topics: Reviews , Middle East, Movies, Israel,  More more >
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