Angelina Jolie has been in Europe over the last couple of months filming her still untitled directorial debut a love story that she wrote about a Bosnian Muslim woman and a Serbian man. Tough stuff to begin with but the shoot has not been easy politically. First, she couldn’t get the permit to film in Sarajevo. Then, she got the permit (because the culture minister read the script and approved it) and was supposed to film for 10 days in Sarajevo but protests caused the days to be cut back. But the controversy continued and Jolie pulled out from going to Sarajevo and was going to have the second unit director handle that segment.
I’m not a fan of people being bullied out of doing their job before seeing the script especially with the track record that Jolie has on issues related to refugees. This is Angelina Jolie we are talking about here. This is a woman who has dedicated her life to making the world aware of issues that are so easily ignored. This is not Roman Polanski making a film about date rape. And I would venture that even though the film is produced by Graham King it’s most probably not a big budget Hollywood flick. It’s a vanity project that she gets to make so that she signs on to King’s next big action flick. That happens all the time with the boys. George Clooney does his small films and his big films. It’s good that a woman gets the opportunity too. I just feel it makes no sense to demonize her and her film before reading the script and seeing the movie.
The latest twist is that Bosnian rape victims group The Women Victims of War have called for a meeting with Jolie to iron out issues about the film. They are very upset about the fact that the film could have (nobody really knows) a woman fall in love with her rapist. The group said that they were “deeply concerned” about the film. Then they went even further and called her “ignorant” and are asking the UN to remove her as an ambassador.
I’m really surprised that things have gotten this bad. Where are the publicists? Why haven’t these women seen a script to allay their fears? Maybe their fears can’t be allayed. A meeting was supposed to be arranged between the group and Jolie in Hungary where she is filming but the group refused to go wanting her to come to Bosnia. I think that goes a bit far. Jolie already was basically told not to show up and now they want her to walk in their for a meeting? Really?
I don’t dismiss the women’s claims at all, they are looking to have a voice about an important situation that has been virtually forgotten in the intervening decade but calling for the UN to strip Jolie’s status as a representative on UNHCR makes no logical sense.
Someone’s got to intervene and soon cause this might be one situation where the old adage all publicity is good publicity might not be true.