RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Indian actress who starred in Slumdog Millionaire has moved from the slums of Mumbai to the squalid refugee camps of the West Bank in a new film: the story of a defiant Palestinian girl who wants to fight against Israel in a coming of age story with a Mideast twist.
Miral, directed by award-winning artist Julian Schnabel and with cameos by Willem Dafoe and Vanessa Redgrave, stands apart for more than its star power.
Due for US release in December, it's also likely to give Western audiences — some perhaps more used to movies depicting Arabs as violent Islamic militants — a compassionate view of the Palestinians.
For Mumbai-raised Freida Pinto, 25, who became a star after Slumdog shot from obscurity to box-office success and eight Academy Awards, it was a chance for a different setting.
Miral sweeps across decades of the Mideast conflict. The cinematography lays out beautiful Palestinian landscapes and Pinto glows in her scenes. But the dialogue comes across at times as preachy, and Schnabel seems to try pack in as much Palestinian history as possible in the 112-minute film.