Jolie's war film revives Bosnia's divisions

Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:17pm EST
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By Daria Sito-Sucic

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Angelina Jolie, whose directorial debut on the Bosnian war screened in Sarajevo on Tuesday night, said she would not attend a premiere in Belgrade but denied she was biased against Serbs.

While thousands in Sarajevo, a mostly Bosnian Muslim city, were braving deep snow and freezing temperatures to attend the gala screening of "In the Land of Blood and Honey," distributors in the Serb region of Bosnia have decided not to show it.

"I am absolutely not anti-Serbian," Jolie said, answering a question during a news conference in Sarajevo, where she arrived with partner Brad Pitt to present the movie in the city where many of the most brutal events of the 1992-95 conflict occurred.

"I think it's sad that that question has to be asked today and I think that shows how divided this region still remains."

The film tells the story of the war through an ambiguous relationship between Danijel, a Bosnian Serb, and Ajla, a Bosnian Muslim woman, whose affection becomes hostage to their respective ethnic groups.

They attempt to maintain their relationship against a backdrop of war, killings and rapes, and pressure from their families, which proves impossible.

"I know this will bring back many painful memories because I know it's a difficult film to watch," Jolie, dressed in an elegant black dress, told the audience of 5,000 in a Sarajevo sports centre before the film screening.

"But I hope when you do, it doesn't just remind you of what you've suffered but it also reminds you of all that you've survived," she said with tears in her eyes.   Continued...

U.S. actress and director Angelina Jolie speaks during a news conference before the gala premiere of the movie "In The Land Of Blood And Honey" in Sarajevo February 14, 2012. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic