Sunday, March 13, 2011

Julian Schnabel's 'Miral' Bombed at Film Festivals But is Just Perfect for the UN

Amid revolutions in the Arab world, anxiety about how to respond to the potential catastrophe at Gaddafi’s hands in Libya, the UN General Assembly will be the venue -- first time ever -- for a movie premier. And what is the film about? Good old, horrible, Israel

This is Julian Schnabel's universally panned Miral, a clodhopper of a paean to his Palestinian girlfriend, Rula Jebreal, whom, BTW, he installed in an apartment one floor below the one he was living in with his second wife when their new affair began. Schnabel, a artist/film-maker with a gigantic ego, has made mucho bucks in the art world, has made a few good films, but, you know, that isn't enough. He truly believes -- and predicted as much in December -- that the UN was the right place to premier the film. “We’re actually going to show the film on March 15 before the General Assembly of the United Nations for 2000 people. That’s where the movie will open,” he said at a book reading.

Schnabel and Jebreal at the Venice Film Festival. One critic called it,
"A middlebrow stew of distracting star cameos, stilted speechifying,
and references to the Battle of Algiers."

Miral, based on Jebreal's autobiographical novel, is the story of "...Hind Husseini, who finds 55 abandoned children and takes them all in, eventually establishing an orphanage in what had been her family's home. Years later, Jebreal was taken to the orphanage by her father after her mother, who had been repeatedly raped by her stepfather as a child and grew up to have a troubled life, committed suicide by walking into the sea." Despite the fact that Jebreal’s mother suffered abuse within her own family, the film depicts hatred and violence as mainly perpetrated by Israeli authorities.

As reported in the Jerusalem Post, Schabel claimed, “I felt it was my responsibility to [turn] Rula's book into a film," Schnabel told reporters in Venice this past September, according to the New York Post. "And I thought that I would have something -- coming from my background as an American Jewish person whose mother was the president of Hadassah in 1948 -- I figured I was a pretty good person to tell the other side." A member of the Israeli delegation who had seen the film told the Jerusalem Post Sunday that the film is “scandalous.”

“There’s no historic context, not at all, nothing,” the Israeli said, noting that the film was laden with instances of Israeli cruelty to Palestinians. “ You can see us bombing a house in the film, but you don’t see why – maybe this was the house of a suicide bomber that killed 30 Israelis. We don’t know.”

But isn't this just another step in the UN's scapegoating of Israel? Having just suffered an embarassment over Libya's membership in the Human Right's Council, what better way to change the story and remind the world that, no matter how brutish are many UN member states, there is one country whose vilification makes it all seem alright.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, "Hind al-Husseini (Arabic: هند الحسيني‎) (April 25, 1916–September 13, 1994) was a Palestinian woman notable for rescuing 55 orphaned survivors of the Deir Yassin massacre, after they were dropped off in Jerusalem and left to fend for themselves" - Wikipedia


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