JULIAN SCHNABEL DRAWS A CROWD

ATTENDING THE 'MIRAL' PREMIERE AT THE U.N.

Last night, we had the esteemed pleasure of attending the U.S. premiere of director Julian Schnabel’s new film, “Miral.” You might call George a regular on the film circuit, but this occasion was extra special for a number of reasons. 

 First and foremost, the premiere was held in the world-famous General Assembly Hall inside the United Nations building. Yes, that sweeping room where all 191 Member States gather to discuss the pressing problems of our times and exact policymaking. Makes George feel so small! Secondly, “Miral” marked the only time a film has screened at the UN. President of the General Assembly Joseph Deiss had seen the movie a few months prior and felt it could contribute to a useful dialogue on peace in the Middle East. 

"Miral" is based on the autobiographical novel of Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal. An orphan growing up in the wake of the Arab-Israeli war, she finds herself drawn into the conflict. Beyond the pressing political subjects at hand, the film itself was rife with profound nuance: exquisite cinematography, a haunting score, excellent turns by Hiam Abbass as the headmistress of Miral’s school and by Alexander Siddig as Miral’s father. 

 

Despite protests from the American Jewish Committee, accusing the film of bias, Schnabel and the film’s distributor Harvey Weinstein (both Jewish Americans) maintained that the film is a plea for peace and understanding. And the historic hall was teeming with creative luminaries who showed solidarity. George spotted Robert DeNiro, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Dick Cavett, Lee Daniels, Famke Janssen, Chaz Palminteri, Zac Posen, James Toback , Fisher Stevens, Steve Buscemi, Paula Zahn, Gayle King and Candice Bergen. We happened to be seated among a few well-dressed gents, too: artist Glen O’Brien, Waris Ahluwalia and Stavros Niarchos were all in our section. And some big names didn’t even have seats! “I have to seat my friends, I’m sorry,” Schnabel interrupted during the film’s introduction as he escorted Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, who contributed music to “Miral,” to an aisle near the front.

 

Afterwards, Dan Rather led a panel in a conversation reinforcing the need for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. In addition to director Julian Schnabel and Rula Jebreal, Palestinian journalist Mona Eltawawy, Rabbi Irwin Kula (president of The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York City), and Yonatan Shapira (a former Israeli Air Force Captain from the Elite Black Hawk Squadron) were among the featured guests.

 

All in all: a mighty New York evening. Lest you think George is all about scotch and supermodels, we’ll have you know art and politics have their place, too.

 

 

 

15 March 2011
Shirt Tales
The Journal Of Pugnacious George
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