News / Europe

Serbs Resent Images, Message in Angelina Jolie's Film

A poster of Angelina Jolie's 'In the Land of Blood and Honey' film in Belgrade, Feb. 24, 2012.
A poster of Angelina Jolie's 'In the Land of Blood and Honey' film in Belgrade, Feb. 24, 2012.
Dianna Cahn

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie canceled her premiere appearance in Belgrade at her film In the Land of Blood and Honey, due to threats of violence.

The movie is a love story set amid the brutal crimes of the 1992-1995 Bosnia war. But it has drawn furious headlines and condemnation in Serbia where critics say the film is biased, depicting only Serbian aggression against Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats.

In the Bosnian capital Sarajevo last week, the film received a standing ovation from the thousands in attendance. In Belgrade, the film opened on Thursday in just two theaters and without any promotional advertising.

Many Serbs say they are tired of being branded the villains by the international community, arguing that atrocities were common from all sides during the conflict.

For Ana Marjanovic, the film was “way too one sided.” Even if Jolie had wanted to make a statement, she said, “it’s lost, at least for the people in Serbia because of that, and that’s too bad.”

Many Serbs share a deep sense of frustration - one often fueled by political rhetoric - that Serbia’s image has not improved even with the passing years.

“For many Serbs it seems there is a constant campaign against Serbs that goes on in official politics, and this turmoil around the Angelina Jolie movie is only a new proof they would believe that the international community are actually against the Serbs," said history professor Predrag Markovic.

'War against civilian population'

Set during the war, the movie portrays a tragic love story between a young Bosnian woman and the Serb soldier in charge of the detention camp where she is held. The scenes of women being raped and mass killings are graphic.

Serbs have been reluctant to examine their own role in the war, but Milos Urosovic said his country needs to come to terms with the atrocities committed. "[Jolie] shows really a picture of the war in Bosnia," Urosovic said. "This was not a civil war. This was a war against civilian population.”

The film opens at a critical time in Serbia, just ahead of national elections, and at the height of frustration over Serbia’s bid to join the European Union.

Serbian nationalism

Film Director Stevan Filipovic, whose 2010 film about neo-Nazi football hooligans won acclaim, said the nationalist ideology in Serbia has left little room for public debate.

"The nationalists are just finding the ways to promote their idea," he said. "All the hype about the film that Angelina Jolie made as a director is not actually directed at the movie itself.”

Markovic and other critics say they are not denying what happened during the war. But they point to crimes committed by other sides.

Jolie said she hoped her film about rape and brutality in the Bosnia war would open dialogue in the scarred region. At the cinema in Belgrade Thursday night, most Serbs said that the film did little more than underscore the worst stereotypes.




You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More