First Major Hollywood Film on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Told from a Palestinian Perspective opens in L.A., NYC.

Dear Los Angeles Friends of Israeli-Palestinian Peace:

Since I know you are as anxious as I to foster a just and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I'm absolutely certain you'd want to know about your personal opportunity to see "Miral" -- the first major Hollywood film about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict told from a personal and largely sympathetic Palestinian perspective.

Please read more detailed information about "Miral" -- as well as your opportunity to see this gorgeous, courageous film starting this weekend at local theaters in Los Angeles -- below.  And join myself and other Angelenos who are committed to Israeli-Palestinian peace (or who just enjoy seeing beautiful, extremely well-made films) in viewing "Miral" as soon as possible and encouraging friends and neighbors to see this ground-breaking and important film.

Thank you so much for your continuing work for peace and justice!

Love and courage,

Joel Gayman

Julian Schnabel's Miral Opens Despite Protest

miral movie posterToday, Friday, March 25th, Miral will make history as the first mainstream American movie about Israel-Palestine told entirely from the perspective of three generations of Palestinian women. Based on the autobiographical novel from journalist Rula Jebreal and masterfully directed by Oscar nominee Julian Schnabel, Miral is unprecedented for both its content and distribution to US audiences. Starring Willem Dafoe, Freida Pinto, Vanessa Redgrave, Omar Metwally and the great Hiam Abbass, Miral is a Venice Film Festival 2010 Official Selection (running time 1h52minutes, rated PG-13). See

Although the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Discrimination League and the Israeli government demanded the U.N. General Assembly cancel Miral's red carpet premier screening, celebrity supporters including Sean Penn and Robert Deniro among others showed up en masse at the UN last Monday night. And while both Julian Schnabel and Miral distributor Harvey Weinstein have come under direct attack for championing the Palestinian perspective, they remain persistent in their belief that Americans must finally hear the other side of the story if we are ever to achieve peace (Daily Beast op-ed).

The Palestinian narrative is still a major taboo in the U.S.  WIth the release of Miral, many Americans will for the first time experience the Palestinian reality. For that reason, organizations including Jewish Voice for Peace, MPAC, J Street, AAPER, and AJJP have come together in support of Miral, Schnabel and Weinstein, and against the cries of censorship.
The makers of Miral ask you to join them at theaters in NY & LA this opening weekend to send a powerful message to groups trying to censor Miral AND to the film industry that there is a robust community mobilized and hungry for movies like Miral. Opening weekend success will increase chances for more mainstream Americans to see it -- and will also dictate the roll-out schedule across the country.

Please get your tickets ASAP by clicking below-special Q & As screenings with Julian Schnabel will be held in NY & LA and we need our community to come out in full force. GROUP EVENTS are the best way to sell-out theaters. For special Group Sales information, please contact David Hinjosa at the Weinstein Company on 212.845.8650 or email him at   

Get tix now on Fandango. Get tix on Moviefone.

Film Synopsis

From Julian Schnabel, Academy Award- nominated director of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Before Night Falls and Basquiat, comes Miral, the story of four women whose lives intertwine in the starkly human search for justice, hope and reconciliation amid a world overshadowed by conflict, rage and war. The story begins in war-torn Jerusalem in 1948 when Hind Husseini (HIAM ABBASS, The Visitor, Amreeka) opens an orphanage for refugee children that quickly becomes home to 2000 orphans. One of the children is seventeen year old Miral (FRIEDA PINTO, Slumdog Millionaire) who arrived at the orphanage 10 years earlier, following her mother's tragic death. On the cusp of the Intifada resistance, Miral is assigned to teach at a refugee camp where she falls for a fervent political activist, Hani (OMAR METWALLY, Munich, Rendition) and finds herself in a personal battle that mirrors the greater dilemma around her: to fight like those before her or follow Mama Hind's defiant belief that education will pave a road to peace.

(Note: Most of the above message about "Miral" was originally written and distributed by the Levantine Cultural Center.)

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Comment by Stewart Mills on March 31, 2011 at 3:13pm

Hi Joel,


It may be true what you say.  However, for some people it would not matter what was said [this is my wife's words].  There were various ways the film helped show the common humanity and the pro-Palestine/pro-Israel/pro-humanity.  The bit that I liked was

- the scene where Miral goes to her cousins by the coast (eg Acre or Haifa?).  Either way we saw the romantic relationship between Miral's Palestinian-Israeli cousin and a Jewish-Israeli girl (whose father was a ranking officer).  We saw the simplicity in love one person for another regardless of what barriers parents from different backgrounds put in the way.  We saw the humour as the cousin's mother tried to fake being more conservative by covering herself up more.

-  we saw Mirals' boyfriend, Hani accept 22% of the the land for Palestine.  A fact which got him murdered by more extreme ends of the PLO.

- we saw the issue of Palestine terrorism raised eg Fatima and Hani's complicity in separate terrorist acts.  Certainly these scenes highlighted that such violence ends up hurting everyone rather than furthering one or another community's interests.


In terms or other reviews see: - 1, 2, 3

Comment by Joel Gayman on March 31, 2011 at 2:08am

Thanks Stewart!  I'm so glad you had a chance to see the film. I also saw an interview with Jubreal and Schnabel on the PBS Charlie Rose show last week, and they both were fabulous.

Miral is a good film, but, unfortunately, not a truly great one as I had hoped.  But I highly commend my fellow Jews Harvey Weinstein and Julian Schnabel for having the foresight, courage and ethics to make it, which brings up one point that I believe would have made the movie even better and much more powerful.

As I'm sure you know, the Israeli government, and many U.S. Jewish organizations have condemned Miral as  biased for mostly showing the reasons for Palestinian grievances against Israeli occupation but not truly  presenting a "balanced" view of the conflict as a whole.  I realize Miral was intentionally produced to show the Palestinian side of the conflict in a sympathetic light, which is very important, since it is so often portrayed dramatically otherwise in U.S. and Western news media and films.  But, because Miral, with some minor exceptions, does portray most Palestinians as "good" and most Israelis as "oppressors," it unfortunately opened itself to being dismissed as anti-Israeli propaganda by its MOST IMPORTANT potential audience --  diaspora and Israeli Jews!

The film could have had much more impact on my fellow Jews and protected itself from being so easily dismissed as biased if the script also had included a frustrated Israeli Jewish peace activist struggling to end the occupation in the best interest of both the Palestinians and Israel as a minor but significant character in the film. This would have dramatically reduced the film from being viewed as exclusively pro-Palestinian and also allowed many liberal Jews, who are anxiously sitting on the fence, to actually empathize with the Palestinian plight more strongly -- or at least give very serious thought to whether the Palestinians actually have a case!

Of course, like everyone, I'm biased too.  I'm a long-time Mideast Jewish peace activist who used to do a great deal of professional PR and fund-raising consulting for Peace Now, the New Israel Fund, the American-Israeli Civil Liberties Coalition, the left-wing Israeli kibbutz movement, etc., etc.  And the leaders and members of these and other Israeli peace groups are both my personal friends and my moral and political  heroes. So I think the film might have achieved its goals much better if these "heroes" were also acknowledged as an important part of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle.


Anyhow, I'm interested in hearing your thoughts!


Peace and courage,




Comment by Stewart Mills on March 30, 2011 at 11:23pm
Thanks Joel.  It is a fantastic film.  I recommend everyone to see it.  It is great tribute to Julian Schnabel, Rula Jubreal, Hind Husseini and all the actor who have risked themselves to be part of this ground-breaking production.


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