In the Land Of Blood and Honey
A Creditable Account of Love and Tragedy in the Bosnian War
By all accounts, Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’ will be a success both with critics and audiences when it releases in select theaters across the United States and Canada on the 23rd of December this year. The stunningly beautiful actress has already been acclaimed for her Academy Award winning role in ‘Girl, Interrupted’, but it seems very likely that this film will also head straight for the Oscars. As it is, it has already been nominated for an award by the Producers Guild of America. This film will be honored with the 2012 Stanley Kramer Award at a glittering ceremony on the 21st of January, 2012.
This is not the first movie to be made on the tragic events that took place in Bosnia during its war with Serbia during the 1990s but it is certainly going to be one of the most controversial and therefore memorable ones. Jolie has picked a very unusual story to film; one about a Bosnian Muslim woman Ajla who is taken to one of the notorious Serbian rape camps which happens to be run by a man, Danijel, she almost had a relationship with earlier. This story is a truly remarkable vehicle for describing the sheer brutality and inhumanity of war.
Jolie has written and directed this film, and it is very clear to see the humanitarian impulses that have motivated her actions of the last few years shining through the story. Most of the actors in the film are Bosnian and she has also written the story from the perspective of a Bosnian. This brings in a sense of immediacy to the film that the others on similar subjects have not been able to achieve.
“In the Land of Blood and Honey” has faced its own share of problems. Many Bosnians protested at what they considered to be a trivialization and idealization of rape, horrific in any circumstance, but particularly appalling considering that it was carried out in a systematic manner in their country. There are certain people who believe that Jolie was unnecessarily sympathetic to Danijel’s character with her attempts to show him as a sensitive person deep down in spite of his job in the Serbian Army which was responsible for mass brutality.
There is overall consensus that Jolie has done the director’s job with a lot of skill and assurance even though the highly charged topic just might have been too much for her to handle. Jolie is also facing a lawsuit brought against her by Croatian journalist Josip Knežević (James J. Braddock) who alleges that the story was lifted from a book written by him. However, the release of the film will go on as per schedule. There is no doubt that audiences will flock to see this movie and will leave the theatre with plenty to think about. It is very likely that Angelina Jolie will draw blood with “In the Land of Blood and Honey” and it remains to be seen whether its success will whet her appetite for directing more films.