The Palestinian girl is author Rula Jebreal. Her novel on which the movie is based is a strongly autobiographical account of her youth in West Bank. She's torn between the injustice she sees at the hands of the Israeli army during the first Intifada and a desire for peace.
Miral is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Rula Jebreal. While the film is about Miral the story first opens up with the brief history of three women who are interconnected in Miral’s life; Hind, Nadia, and Fatima. Hind believes that the only way to weed out the hatred that has plagued her country for years and brought nothing but war and misery is to take the orphans of the war and educate them, love them, and give them a balanced life behind the safe gates of her orphanage. Nadia, Miral’s mother, escapes sexual abuse in her home and lives as a dancer before getting into an altercation on a bus and being sent to prison for a brief time. Its here where she meets Fatima, a former nurse who turned to terrorism. While their interactions with the overall story are brief there is a cause and effect purpose right down the center of the film that attaches all of their stories together as a whole to give purpose to Miral’s progression.
Without a doubt Schnabel’s Miral can and will be looked at from all different types of perspectives from political to societal to human, and all things considered every single perspective would be right. I was fascinated by the film simply because the entire life of Miral is cause and effect. Even when Miral is not present in the film, once its all over, you can look back through the timeline and understand why her life followed a certain path and how some of her options were either limited or mandatory. All these details make this a film that you can watch over and over and see something new or gain some new perspective. Well worth checking out.
If your familiar with Schnabel’s work you’ll know that he is an artist through and through and his filming style reflects that. That being said if you plan on purchasing the Blu-Ray for Miral I have to warn you that art and technology collide with ill effect. The film begins in what I assume is meant to look like dated film. Its drab in color and just shy of being great in detail. As the film moves on through its timeline and we progress years down the line the film obtains a red tint that plays with skin tones giving them a pink/reddish tone and blurring the clarity of the picture as well as the color. When you see things like a large Maize dome on a building off in the distance or lively vegetation you expect superior quality color. Sadly this is not the case. As time marches on your offered up archive film which looks…well…archive, blurred around the edges dream sequences, and grain popping in ever so slightly. Mind you there are points in the film where everything comes together, mostly tight knit close up shots, but the overall picture quality of Miral is unreliable. It just feels like you have two options for watching this film. One is to simply shrug and come to the conclusion that the BD is far from reference or two just enjoy it and chalk it up to Schnabel’s tendency to interject artistic view points into his shots, even if they tamper with quality. Audio is supported with a 5.1 DTS-HD MA that provides the mostly dialogue heavy film with clarity and even supports some scenes in the film that feature explosions and gunfire. Not a lot of immersion but you won’t miss a word.
~Deleted Scenes: You get three of them. The last one starring Hind Husseini is probably the only noteworthy one as far as a further dive into character expansion.
~The Making of Miral: Here we get to see both Freida Pinto, who plays Miral, and Rula Jebreal, author of the novel. The two women look amazingly similar and Schnabel, a credit to him, explains how he chose Pinto because of striking similarities not just in appearance but in background as well to offer up an actress that could pull off the part authentically.
~Julian Schnabel Studio Tour: Schnabel wanders around his art studio showing off some of his paintings. Okay.
~Filmmaker Q & A: 30 plus minutes of footage featuring Schnabel and Jebreal as well as some other people talking about the film.
~Feature Commentary with Director Julian Schnabel and Producer Jon Kilik