Artist-director Julian Schnabel today blasted critics of his controversial new film, “Miral,” hinting at a conspiracy underlying some of the movie’s poor reviews.Nina Rothe reviewed the movie, very favorably, at the Huffington Post. Her review was less about the merits of the movie than about its politics. I could not find anything about her being fired; she is certainly still at HuffPo, not even at her Twitter page which is filled with raves about Miral. So I have no idea what Jebreal is talking about.
“I actually think that there’s a plan to undermine this thing because people wish that it would go away,” Mr. Schnabel said after being asked whether some of the harsh reviews of “Miral” were politically motivated. A politically charged film about three generations of Palestinian women, the story is adapted from a semiautobiographical novel by Rula Jebreal, who wrote the film’s screenplay.
“And people don’t want to get fired from their jobs,” said Mr. Schnabel, one-time enfant terrible of the New York art world and director of critically acclaimed films such as “Before Night Falls” (2000) and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (2007), which earned four Oscar nominations (including best director).
“There’s a woman that was fired from her place, Nina Rothe. She wrote a beautiful review of this movie,” explained Ms. Jebreal, the stunning Palestinian journalist with whom the divorced Mr. Schnabel now lives in New York.
On the other hand, Rotten Tomatoes - which collects movie reviews from both critics and moviegoers - says only 18% of the movie critics like the film. Their reviews are sometimes about the politics but often about the fact that is it simply not good filmmaking. Even very left-wing outlets like NPR panned the film.
To imply that film reviewers - perhaps the most liberal group of people in the media - are adhering to an anti-Palestinian Arab agenda borders on paranoia. (The idea that a movie reviewer can lose his or her job over a review in any major media outlet is simply insane.)
If you want to see politically motivated reviews, though, go to Yahoo Movies and look at all the A+s Miral received from viewers - across the board for acting, direction, story and visuals - in what sure looks like a small but coordinated campaign to raise its rankings. Many of the reviews simply like the movie because it makes Israel look bad, not because they have anything good to say about the actual movie.
This is the only possible conspiracy I can find.
UPDATE: Check out this description of the film, and of Schnabel's words after a showing.