Return to tiff.’s home page



Julian Schnabel

  • Country: United Kingdom, Israel, France
  • Year: 2009
  • Producer: Jon Kilik
  • Executive Producer: Francois-Xavier Decraene
  • Screenplay: Rula Jebreal
  • Runtime: 113
  • Programmes:

From the director of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Before Night Falls and Basquiat, comes Miral, the visceral, first-person diary of a young girl growing up in East Jerusalem as she confronts the effects of occupation and war in every corner of her life. Schnabel pieces together momentary fragments of Miral’s world – how she was formed, who influenced her, all that she experiences in her tumultuous early years – to create a raw, moving, poetic portrait of a woman whose small, personal story is inextricably woven into the bigger history unfolding all around her.

RefugeesIsraelPoliticsComing of Age & YouthWar

screening times

    • Monday September 13
    • 6:00:00 PM
    • Tuesday September 14
    • 9:00:00 AM
    • VARSITY 8

Note: indicates Premium Screening.

official description

“Miral is a red flower. It grows on the side of the road. You’ve probably seen millions of them.”

Those words open Miral, which is also the name of the last of four women at the centre of Julian Schnabel’s passionate new film.Those words, with their vivid imagery, their resonance and their ability to act as description,lament and warning all at once, sum up the nuances of this remarkable drama. The setting is Israel and Palestine, from 1948 to the mid-nineties. The tales may not be new,but the telling is.

The first of the four women is Hind Husseini (a real-life figure played by Hiam Abbass). After the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of Israel, Hind happens upon fifty-five newly orphaned children in the streets of Jerusalem. All heart, she takes them in and founds an orphanage for girls that soon houses thousands.

The second woman is Nadia (Yasmine Elmasri), who fled her home after being abused by her father. When a Jewish woman on a bus calls her an “Arab whore,” Nadia bloodies the woman’s nose before being hauled away by the police. In prison she meets the third woman, Fatima who was convicted of planting a bomb in a theatre.The explosive never went off, but Fatima was given two life sentences for the act,and another for not standing politely in the courtroom. Fatima introduces Nadia to her brother, (Alexander Siddiq), who eventually proposes. Together, they have a lovely daughter named Miral (Freida Pinto) – the fourth woman.

In Basquiat, Before Night Falls and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Schnabel proved himself adept at extraordinary portraits of subjective experiences. Miral is imbued with the exquisite camera and sound work he’s become known for, but the portraiture is more precise than expressionist,matching an emotional arc with apolitical one. As each of these four women face progressively harsher circumstances,they craft increasingly engaged responses.

Cameron Bailey

director bio

Julian Schnabel was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated with a B.F.A. from the University of Houston and participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. He had his first solo painting exhibition at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York City in 1979. Since then, his paintings have been included in many important public and private collections around the world. His feature films are Basquiat (96), Before Night Falls (00), which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival, Lou Reed’s Berlin (07), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (07), for which he won the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival, and Miral (10).

full credits

Principal Cast: Frieda Pinto, Hiam Abbass, Willem Defoe, Vanessa Redgrave
Jon Kilik
Executive Producer:
Francois-Xavier Decraene
Eric Gautier
Juliette Welfling
Ashi Milo
Production Designer:
Yoel Herzberg

Canadian Distributor:
 Alliance Films  
International Sales Agent:
 Pathe International
Production Company:
A Jon Kilik Production
Shopping Cart

    Share This

    • Digg
    • Share

    Like This

    film stills and media