The Weinsteins are known for grabbing publicity with their ratings battles for such films as Blue Valentine, which earned an R
PG-13 on appeal, and likely Oscar-winner The King’s Speech, which just landed a PG-13 rating after the Weinsteins amended its volley of the F-word. Now Biutiful producer Jon Kilik and director Julian Schnabel (whose The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was briefly rated R for brief frontal nudity before Kilik protested) are appealing the MPAA’s R-rating for Weinstein indie pick-up Miral, their Pathe-financed film about the violent Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which played the festival circuit last year.
The filmmakers have filed for a March 10 Appeals Board ruling to get a PG-13 rating for the film, which TWC opens March 25, so that young people around the world can see the film.
Adapted from her own autobiographical novel by journalist and peace advocate Rula Jebreal, the movie is about an Arab teenager, played by Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto, whose single stepfather (Omar Metwally, Munich) gives her to an East Jerusalem orphanage run by a loving teacher (Hiam Abbass, The Visitor). Disappointed by the MPAA ruling, Kilik says that Schnabel went out of his way to film abuse without showing “graphic sex, violence or language—not one curse word, no blood, no skin. You FEEL the abuse. But you don’t see it graphically. It’s done through acting, the camera, editing and script, in an old-fashioned style. That was how it was conceived. We’re hopeful that the MPAA will overturn the rating without us having to change a frame.”
In a statement, Schnabel said:
“We made this film for all audiences to see. 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.”