A controversy over the movie ‘Miral’


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The film ‘Miral,’ based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Palestinian author Rula Jebreal, is scheduled to have its U.S. premiere tonight at the United Nations. But the American Jewish Committee has called for the screening to be cancelled, saying that the film portrays Israel negatively.

Director Julian Schnabel, who is Jewish, disagreed, saying: ‘I love the state of Israel. I believe in it, and my film is about preserving it, not hurting it. Understanding is part of the Jewish way, and Jewish people are supposed to be good listeners. But if we don’t listen to the other side, we can never have peace.’


That’s according to a report in our sibling blog 24 Frames. Producer Jon Kilik added: ‘We are surprised and saddened that the American Jewish Committee would prejudge ‘Miral’ and move to block the showing of the film.... We made this film in order to encourage the very dialogue that the AJC seems to want to prevent. We hope the AJC will come to the premiere instead of trying to cancel it.’

Author Rula Jebreal is scheduled to join Schnabel, journalist Mona Eltahawy, Rabbi Irwin Kula, president of Clal, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and Yonatan Shapira, co-founder of Combatants for Peace and a former captain in the Israeli Air Force Reserves in a discussion after the film tonight moderated by Dan Rather.

The book ‘Miral,’ published by Penguin, has been in bookstores since November -- but didn’t stir quite as much controversy as the film, which is scheduled for release March 25.


Toronto 2010: ‘Miral’ director Julian Schnabel: I’m confounded by the ideological criticisms Spring full of film adaptations of favorite books

-- Carolyn Kellogg