by Ariana Pekary, producer
Angelina Jolie’s new film, In the Land of Blood and Honey, has been a personal undertaking – and a risk. For the first time, Jolie’s not in front of the camera, she’s behind it. The actress says she never wanted to be a director, but the story evolved out of her desire to learn more about the conflict in Bosnia, and ta-dah: she had a script. So she used her stardom for good and Jolie now has her dramatic directorial debut.
In case you’re skeptical that this actress known for her big budget blockbuster hits was being too ambitious to direct her first film in a foreign land with foreign speakers, on a very serious subject of trust and loyalty, set during a war, then you might find that skepticism misplaced. The cast is phenomenal – you care about them immediately. Plus, the story is compelling and interesting: can this Muslim woman, who is being held captive as a prisoner of war, where rape is used as a weapon, really feel love for the man who is now responsible for her imprisonment? It’s surprisingly gritty and subtle at the same time, if a little far-fetched in places (how the main character reconnected with her sister so easily still makes me scratch my head). Nonetheless, you will stick with the story until the end. Bob interviewed Jolie in a hotel suite in DC (that’s him with producer Dan Bloom) and as he says, the film is “superb.”
Now, for a little fun trivia. You might never have heard of two made-for-TV movies featuring Jolie early in her acting career, even if she did win Golden Globes for them both. George Wallace was released in 1997 and Gia was released in 1998. That film starred Jolie as the supermodel Gia Marie Carangi who partied too hard during the 70s and 80s and ultimately died in 1986 after contracting AIDS. You can watch the trailer here: