The indian actress Freida Pinto and Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal attend the premiere of Miral at the 54th British Film Institute London Film Festival at the Vue West End cinema last night. Pinto, 26, who made her name in the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, plays the lead in Jebreal's autobiographical story of an orphaned Palestinian girl's experiences of the first Arab-Israeli war. Ian Gavan/Getty Images
American artist-turned film-maker Julian Schnabel follows up on his intimate and claustrophobic The Diving Bell and the Butterly (about a stroke victim) with a full-blown epic looking at the Palestinian struggle from 1948 until the mid-1990s. Miral is plodding at times, choppily edited and unevenly performed. It has very little of the aesthetic polish of Schnabel's earlier work and the director is bound to be accused by his critics of political naivete. However, it's also a courageous and groundbreaking film. There aren't any other movies that spring to mind from Oscar-nominated directors that look at post-war Middle Eastern history from the point of view of Palestinian women.
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