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Miral [Blu-ray]

4.2 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Academy Award® nominated director Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), and based on the acclaimed semi-autobiographical novel, Miral is the story of a Palestinian girl coming of age amidst the war zone of the Israeli-Arab conflict -- unflinchingly told through the perspective of Miral (Freida Pinto, Slumdog Millionaire) herself. Following the death of her troubled mother, Miral's father (Alexander Siddig) is forced to entrust her to the orphanage of Hind Husseini (Hiam Abbass), a woman whose commitment to peace through education has a profound impact on the maturing young woman as her epic journey to self-esteem and social consciousness proves both harrowing and hopeful. Also starring Willem Dafoe and Vanessa Redgrave.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Freida Pinto, Willem Dafoe, Hiam Abbass, Vanessa Redgrave, Omar Metwally
  • Directors: Julian Schnabel
  • Writers: Rula Jebreal
  • Producers: John Kilik, Francois-Xavier Decraene
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen, Color
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: July 12, 2011
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004XH9X2M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,562 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 14, 2011
Format: DVD
It is refreshing to visit the Israeli/Palestinian conflict form a vantage too seldom shared in cinema. Director Julian Schnabel once again proves that he understands human responses in the face of political conflict. Rula Jebreal has adapted her own novel which in turn is a biography of her involvement in the history of the Palestinian conflict. It is a touching recounting of the events that took place form 1947 to the present and it leaves the window open for much conversation.

The film opens with a party held by Bertha Spafford (Vanessa Redgrave) in 1947 when she asks her guest to forget the conflict outside for a celebration of Christmas: the party is attended by both her Jewish and Arabic friends, the centerpiece being the Christmas tree brought yearly by the Husseini family and then replanted to restore the earth. Hind Husseini (Hiam Abbass) is there and meets Eddie (Willem Dafoe), an American friend of Bertha. A year latter in 1948 there is an Arab-Israeli War, the Deir Yassin Massacre, and the establishment of the state of Israel. The wealthy Hind Husseini encounters 55 starving children, victims of the war, and take s them home to establish what will become the Dar Al-Tifel Institute, a school for Arab orphans that within months grew to a population of 2000. The film then jumps forward and we meet Nadia (Yasmine Al Massri), an abused alcoholic who is imprisoned and there meets devout Muslim Jamal (Alexander Siddig) who later becomes her husband: Nadia, unable to change her life, drowns herself when their child is only 7 years old. It is now 1978 and Jamal brings his daughter Miral (Yolanda El Karam) to the keeping of Hind, reassuring her that he will see her on weekends.
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Format: Blu-ray
After critical success with "Basquiat," "Before Night Falls," and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"--I was a little surprised that Julian Schnabel's latest feature "Miral" flew as under the radar as it did. Based on the affecting memoir of journalist Rula Jebreal (who takes a screenplay credit as well), it tells the story of a Palestinian girl growing up amongst the eternal struggles between Palestine and Israel. It is an unorthodox and interesting viewpoint to see events of international consequence filtered through such an intimate perspective. Growing up under military occupation, having hatred and fear as a part of your every day existence--the potential for powerful self exploration and deep drama is inherent. But, in many ways, the film wants to tell several stories by introducing three fascinating female characters before Miral (Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto) is even in the picture. That's fine, of course, but in the grand scheme of things--I'm not sure if those life stories (left largely unexplored) weren't inherently more interesting than the one settled on. In particular, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Hind Husseini (Hiam Abbass)--a truly remarkable woman who dedicated her life to caring for orphans in the war-torn area.

The film's tag line "Is this the face of a terrorist?" also doesn't serve the movie well in setting up expectations. This is a coming-of-age story where a young women must come to terms with the economic, social and political climate of the area and time in which she was born. Sure, extremism and violent protest are a part of that world and Miral becomes entrenched in it--but this is hardly an examination of modern terrorism. It is a character study of how one adapts to such an environment when it is an inherent part of life.
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Format: Blu-ray
Judge Daryl Loomis, DVD Verdict-- First and foremost, Miral is not propaganda, no matter what some reviews of the film would have you believe. I can show you propaganda, dark and evil material that is shockingly persuasive, but this is not that. Miral is more akin to Gillo Pontecorvo's incredible Battle of Algiers than it is to, say, any 1970s East German animation one might come across. Ultimately, I understand a pro-Palestinian film made by a Jewish director from an autobiographical book by Rula Jebreal, his Palestinian partner, is bound to drive opinions to already-established hard and fast views on the situation. If viewers can set those politics aside, however, they will be rewarded a gorgeous film of outward emotion and humanity, one that should be regarded as equal or greater to the rest of the catalog of director Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), one that people owe themselves to watch.

Miral receives a lovely Blu-ray package from Anchor Bay. The 2.35:1 1080p image is impeccable, featuring perfect color balance and detail. The cinematography by Eric Gaultier (Into the Wild) is impeccable, and some shots are downright chill-inducing; the disc is a fantastic showcase for his talent. The landscapes and the interiors are brilliant in their clarity, detail, and color balance; this is a reference-quality image. The 5.1 DTS-HD audio isn't quite as strong, but it's well balanced and robust. Miral is presented in English, with the occasional snippets of Arabic and Hebrew, and all of it is nice and clear. Schnabel uses a heavy amount of popular music for the score, including two Tom Waits songs as end credit music; all of it very effective.

We also get a good slate of extras.
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