Angelina Jolie’s movie, In the Land of Blood & Honey, will be released next month. It will be the Academy Award-winning actress’ feature film directorial debut. This is her second time on the director’s chair, her first time was the 2007 documentary, A Place in Time, that starred Anne Hathaway, Wyclef Jean and Jonny Lee Miller.
In the Land of Blood and Honey
Angie’s film is a love story set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War that tore the Balkan region apart in the 1990s. In the Land of Blood and Honey tells the story of Danijel and Ajla, two people from different sides of a brutal ethnic conflict. Danijel, a soldier fighting for the Serbs, and Ajla, a Bosnian-Muslim held captive in the camp he oversees. They knew each other before the war and could have found love with each other. But as the armed conflict takes hold of their lives, their relationship grows darker, their motives and connection to one another ambiguous, their allegiances uncertain. In the Land of Blood and Honey delves into human relationships and behavior and how living inside a war can affect it.
I am calling In the Land of Blood and Honey Angie’s movie because, one: the actors are solely compromised of various ethnicities from the region of the former Yugoslavia—meaning there are no big-name stars attached to this film; and two: not only is she directing it, she also wrote the original screenplay of the film. She reportedly wrote it while she was “quarantined” from the children for two days in an attic after falling ill with the flu. She was bored, so she started writing the whole thing. When I have the flu, I would sleep the whole day, do nothing and make my husband bring me food and plump my pillow…coz that’s one of the few times you can get away with that.
There is another Academy Award winner attached to the film, the director of photography is oscar-winning Dean Semler (Dances with Wolves, Apocalypto). So In the Land of Blood and Honey would be more than competent stylistically.
In the Land of Blood and Honey Release Date
In the Land of Blood and Honey hits theaters on December 23, 2011
In the Land of Blood and Honey Pictures
Who’s In It?
- Rade Serbedzija
- Nikola Djuricko
- Zana Marjanovic as Ajla
- Branko Djuric
- Goran Kostic as Danijel
- Goran Jevtic
- Fedja Stukan as Petar
- Dolya Gavanski as Maida
- Jasna Beri
- Milos Timotijevic
- Boris Ler
- Irena Mulamuhic as Bosnian Woman
- Levente Törköly as Serbian Officer No. 2
- Dado Jehan as Band Leader
- Alma Terzic
The Good Stuff?
I like Angie. With her wild girl past (wearing her husband’s vial of blood around her neck, wearing white T-shirt with the groom’s name written in her blood on it as a wedding dress and kissing her brother full on the mouth) and being a bona fide action star (a rare feat for woman in Hollywood), some people would probably to poo-poo the idea of her writing and directing. But she did take classes at NYU to study filmmaking and writing right after shooting Gia. And I like the fact that she reportedly cast (by and large) Bosnian locals, including many people who were actually children that survived during the country’s civil war in the ’90s for In the Land of Blood and Honey. She also simultaneously shot it in English and the cast’s native language. It’s like she’s going for an approach that’s sort of an authentic genuinely-touching semi-docudrama about Bosnia’s troubled history. She certainly has a vision on how the film should be. I hope she wins an oscar for this.
The Bad Stuff?
With its controversial story/plot, it’s a typical ‘oscar’ movie and like Jolie’s personality, this film feels so intense (or at least that’s how I picture her personality—intense, dark and brooding). She had said as much in an interview that it’s a heavy film. So In the Land of Blood and Honey is a film I wouldn’t want to watch over the holidays.