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Film Pays Tribute to Slain Reporter Daniel Pearl

A new film, "A Mighty Heart," pays tribute to slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Director Michael Winterbottom offers a riveting story and a stellar cast. VOA's Penelope Poulou has a review.

Angelina Jolie narrates as Mariane Pearl: "The Day after 9/11 Danny and I flew to Pakistan. He was the South Asia Bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal. And I was working for French Public Radio."

The movie is based on Mariane Pearl's personal account of her husband's abduction and subsequent murder. On January 23rd, 2002, the day that kidnappers abducted Daniel Pearl, his wife was nearly six months pregnant and ready to go back to the United States. But Pearl had one more interview to do.

Using an unsteady camera in crowded Karachi, Michael Winterbottom creates anxiety and claustrophobia. And although we all know the ending to this jarring story, we relive the dread of its inevitable outcome. At the same time we empathize with Mariane Pearl's silent suffering and her firm resolve to find her husband.

Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie is riveting as the strong and tragic Mariane Pearl.

"And she came out of it with a sense of 'we have to continue to have a dialogue, we have to continue to understand each other, we cannot just be angry and blinded by hatred.' It's probably the most important thing I've ever done on film," says Jolie.

To do it, Jolie had to transform herself physically.

"Michael [Winterbottom] was adamant, when I first I said I wanted to try on a wig and contacts, he said very nicely, 'No.' So, we had to really convince him that it would be flawless enough," adds Jolie. "So, I was relieved that I thought we pulled it off."

The supporting cast is in total synergy with Jolie. Indian-born actor Irfan Khan delivers a nuanced performance as the undaunted Pakistani police captain who is determined to find Pearl's kidnappers.

This is a complex movie about the triumph of the human spirit in the face of hatred. It is also a haunting story of love, loss and hope.

Jolie, speaking as Mariane Pearl in the film, says, "This film is for our son. So that he knows that his father was an ordinary man, an ordinary hero."