After The Weinstein Company got the MPAA to okay a PG-13 version of The King’s Speech, will director Julian Schnabel and producer Jon Kilik be able to get the ratings board to change its mind over the R rating just given Miral, which The Weinstein Co releases March 25?

Schnabel, who persuaded the ratings board to reconsider an R rating on The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, faces the same challenge on Miral. Schnabel directed the coming of age film based on the book by Rula Jebreal that tells her story of an orphaned Palestinian girl who grows up in the wake of the first Arab-Israeli war who finds herself drawn into the conflict. Schnabel and Kilik will argue the appeal, saying they feel the film is unduly restrictive and significantly limits the film’s ability to open a dialogue with young people about Israeli/Palestinian relations, the importance for peace in the region, and choosing education over violence.

“We made this film for all audiences to see,” Schnabel said. “I wanted this to be a PG-13 rating from the beginning. The movie is for, about, and dedicated to all of the children from the Dar El-Tifel Institute. It is made for the very people that an ‘R’ rating keeps from seeing it. The film is a cry for peace, and the kids who choose education over violence are the ones who are going to make it happen. My hope is that they can see the film and be encouraged by this young girl’s inspiring story.”

Said Kilik: “I am very disappointed by the MPAA decision to give our film, Miral, an “R” rating. The challenge for me as an independent film producer is to preserve impact and emotion, while at the same time respecting the guidelines of the MPAA rating system. Our film is able to successfully achieve this without one frame of graphic sex, violence or language—not one curse word, no blood, no skin. Miral is clearly within the parameters of a PG-13 rating. This is a personal story of humanity, survival, and peace, and one that will provide an important window for teenagers and young adults into better understanding Israeli/Palestinian relations. It is a story told from the point of view of a 17 year old Arab schoolgirl whose life was saved by a loving step-father and a school that provided her with an education that led to a career as an award-winning journalist and peace advocate that continues today.”

i’m told there are no overt scenes of sexuality or violence in the film, but there is an implied molestation. The film stars Slumdog Millionaire‘s Freida Pinto, Munich‘s Omar Metwally and The Visitor‘s Hiam Abbass. The book is based on the experience of Jabreal, who as a young Palestinian girl grew up in East Jerusalem and confronted the effects of occupation and war on every aspect of her life. Raised from early childhood at Hind Husseini’s orphanage and school, Dar El-Tifel, she became an activist who had to choose between violence or peace.
Below is the film’s trailer: