Having made her directorial debut with the 2007 documentary “A Place in Time,” Angelia Jolie has lately been hard at work on what will be her first narrative film as a director, a still untitled love story between a Serbian man and Bosnian Muslim woman set around the Bosnian War.
Presuming it’s ever finished. The production’s been plagued with a world of woes — Jolie’s permit to film in Bosnia was revoked, and though it was eventually restored she cut short her shooting days there after protests from a local women’s group who’d heard, incorrectly, that the story was about a rape victim who falls in love with her attacker. Thousands of women were raped during the war, which took place between April 1992 and December 1995.
Though Jolie has said she’s reached out to the group and has expressed interest in meeting with them to address their concerns, yesterday the Women Victims of War issued a statement that makes it clear the matter is far from settled: “Angelina Jolie’s ignorant attitude towards victims says enough about the scenario and gives us the right to continue having doubts about it.” The WVW addressed the letter to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), suggesting they no longer maintain Jolie as a goodwill ambassador:
We wanted to talk woman to woman. She should have asked after the victims, come (to Bosnia) before the shooting to hear our voice. As far as we are concerned a love story could not have existed in a camp. Such an interpretation is causing us mental suffering.
It’s doubtful Jolie ever dreamed she’d generate this much controversy with her project, which seems to have been conceived with good intentions and primarily features actors and crew from the area and from Hungary, where the majority of the shoot has taken place. But she’s also an outsider and a Hollywood A-lister arriving to make a movie set during a still-recent, brutal conflict — you can’t blame these women for feeling protective over how their story is going to be told. The film is slated to be completed in 2011.