Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) sets out to make a mainstream drama about the suffering of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, and though that's certainly a worthy goal, this story of a girl growing up in the occupied territories never finds its footing. Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal adapted the screenplay from her own largely autobiographical novel, approached Schnabel with it, and wound up as his lover; whether she was too close to the material or he wasn't close enough, the resulting movie feels received and inauthentic, part melodrama and part geopolitical primer. The story begins with the real-life figure of Hind Husseini (played with regal dignity by Hiam Abbas of The Visitor), who founded an orphanage for Palestinian children after the Deir Yassin massacre in 1948. Unfortunately her story soon gives way to that of the ill-defined Jebreal character (Freida Pinto of Slumdog Millionaire), who becomes radicalized during the First Intifada and alarms her get-along, go-along father by taking up with a handsome young militant.
Director: Julian Schnabel
Producer: Jon Kilik and François-Xavier Decraene
Cast: Hiam Abbass, Freida Pinto, Yasmine Al Massri, Ruba Blal, Alexander Siddig, Omar Metwally, Willem Dafoe, Vanessa Redgrave and Stella Schnabel