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Sean Penn, Julian Schnabel and Josh Brolin at the UN premiere of 'Miral'
Julian Schanbel's "Miral" didn't get much buzz when it premiered in Venice last September, but has created something of a firestorm before its U.S. release. The film had its U.S. premiere at the United Nations Monday night, but before hand the American Jewish Committee referred to the screening as a "one-sided event" and accused the film having a "clear political message, which portrays Israel in a highly negative light." The Israeli U.N. delegation reportedly echoed those comments.
In a statement released before the event, director Julian Schnabel said, “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. Instead of saying ‘no,’ I ask the AJC to say ‘yes,’ see 'Miral' and join the discussion.”
Screenwriter Rula Jebrealas, who also wrote the source novel, and whose life was the inspiration for both remarked, “'Miral' is a story about human beings - Palestinian, Israeli, Muslim, Jewish and Christian - and it explores how we all react differently to the violence around us, whether physical, emotional, political or otherwise. It is a film about love, education, understanding, and peace. That seems like a good thing to show at the United Nations.”
Schnabel, who also directed the critically acclaimed "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "Before Night Falls" and "Basquiat," received a lot of support from his friends in the movie industry at the premiere including photo ops with Sean Penn, Josh Brolin (pictured), Robert De Niro, Vanessa Redgrave and Steve Buscemi.
"Miral" opens in select theaters on March 25.