Angelina Jolie said her directorial debut, set during the 1990s conflict in BiH, is intended to draw attention to global atrocities.
By Bedrana Kaletović for Southeast European Times in Sarajevo -- 15/02/12
US actress Angelina Jolie speaks with reporters in Sarajevo at the premiere of her film "In the Land of Blood and Honey". [Haris Memija/SETimes]
US actress and director Angelina Jolie arrived with her partner Brad Pitt to the cheers of 5,000 fans attending the premiere of the directorial debut "In the Land of Blood and Honey" on Tuesday night (February 14th).
Jolie, wearing a long black gown, walked arm-in-arm with Pitt on the red carpet, waving to photographers and fans. She greeted the crowd in Bosnian. The film's plot centres around the love story of two young people, which is abruptly ended by the start of the conflict. Later, the two are reconnected -- as a Serbian soldier and Muslim woman imprisoned in a concentration camp in BiH, where a rape occurs.
The film has provoked negative comments in BiH, particularly among Serbs, who believe the movie demonises them.
As one of Hollywood’s most famous figures, Jolie’s star power is expected to draw renewed global attention to the events surrounding the 1990s conflict. She has told reporters that she hopes the film will be a "wake-up call" for the international community to stop fighting around the world.
"The movie is about universal topics -- conflict, torture, violence of women, and the response of society. This movie is not judgmental, it is not anti-Serbian," Jolie said. "I believe that its core issue -- which is the need for intervention and need for the world to care about atrocities when they are happening -- is very, very timely and especially with things that are happening in Syria today."
As the film ended to a standing ovation, Jolie tearfully told filmgoers, "To share this with you means the world to me."
"We judged about something that we do not know, and when I saw the tears in Angelina's eyes, I realised that this is not just another job for her, but a lot more," Amra Sabic of Sarajevo told SETimes.
"I did not make the movie … to show the dark part of the history of this country, but to show the world the remarkable [country of] Bosnia and Herzegovina. [I]t is a reminder of all the suffering that people experienced here," Jolie said. "This movie changed my life and the way I see this region."
She dismissed the negative comments about the film from Republika Srpska and Serbia, saying they were from politicians and the media.
Jolie and Brad Pitt attend the premiere in Sarajevo. [Haris Memija/SETimes]
"Serbian people are smart and will able to see the differences between the truth and something that is imposed on them. They will see that the movie is art," said Jolie.
"The movie is good, but is should be seen without prejudices, because only then does it have meaning," premier attendee Mensur Hajdarevic told SETimes.
"I thought it would be easier to watch this movie, but many things reminded me about my war fate; it reminded me of the town I left, and the violence that my family experienced," said Selma Fejzic.
The movie will be launched throughout the region on Thursday.