PARIS (Reuters) - Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has hit back at criticism of her directorial debut, saying most people back her portrayal of a love story between a Serbian man and Bosnian woman on the eve of the 1992-95 Balkans conflict.
Speaking in Paris ahead of next week’s premiere of a very different film — romantic action comedy “The Tourist” in which she stars with Johnny Depp — Jolie said her intention had never been to stoke controversy with her movie set in wartime Bosnia.
Bosnian victims of sexual violence during the 1990s have written to the United Nations, for which the Oscar-winning actress is a goodwill ambassador, saying she didn’t deserve the position and did not know enough about the ethnic conflict.
“There’s one person who has a gripe,” Jolie said.
“The absolute majority of the people, population, the cast, prime minister, president have been extremely supportive,” she said, adding that 95 percent of the film’s cast had lived through the war.
Jolie has described her movie, which is still untitled, as a love story between a Serbian man and a Bosnian Muslim woman on the eve of the 1992-95 war in which 100,000 people died.
The production team has cut back on filming plans in Bosnia, however, moving some scenes from Sarajevo to be shot in Budapest, after a Bosnian minister canceled the filming permit in October, citing incomplete paperwork.
The move came after the minister met with female victims of the Bosnian war who said they objected to details of the plot.
Jolie, who also wrote the screenplay, said she had initially set out to just write to express her frustrations over how long the international community took to intervene in conflicts.
“It kept leaning toward Yugoslavia at the time, I wanted to learn more about it and the people, the more I read and learnt I was drawn to that part of the world,” she said.
“I met artists from that part of the world and found they were extraordinary for what they’d gone through, so I wanted to give them a platform.”
The “Tomb Raider” star has asked women war victims in a letter to hold judgment until they have seen the film in which she said “there are many twists in the plot that address the sensitive nature of the relationship between the main characters.”
Editing by Paul Casciato