Angelina Jolie Makes Her Directing Debut in Budapest
Angelina Jolie’s movie career has been built largely on her reputation as an action woman, swinging from high ropes, single-handedly wiping out legions of heavily armed men and escaping barely alive from impossible situations. Yet in her latest movie where she switches from acting to directing it is her humanitarian work that provides the inspiration for the plot .
In the Land of Blood and Honey
In the Land of Blood and Honey has recently opened in the US and Canada to mixed reviews. The movie tells the story of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war through the eyes of its two main stars: Danijel, a Bosnian Serb soldier and Ajla, a young Bosniak woman. Danijel and Ajla are about to embark on a relationship just as war is breaking out; a war that quickly results in Ajla being taken prisoner and Danijel being one of her captors.
Jolie’s plot doesn’t shy away from the horrors that took place in the war, yet attempts to delve into the mental turmoil that engulfs both captor and victim. Initially criticised by Bosnian women’s groups for sensationalizing such a tragic episode of the nation’s history, those same groups by and large provided positive reviews once they saw the movie and have praised it as an accurate and sensitive portrayal of the events of 20 years ago. Serb critics have been far less complementary, accusing Jolie of creating one-dimensional Serb characters, portraying them as little more than evil monsters.
The producers had originally approached a Serbian studio to film there but the owner of the company was unhappy with the script and refused to do business with them. The production crew then selected Budapest and nearby Esztergom to represent Sarajevo and its surroundings, with actors cast in Bosnia and brought to Hungary for filming.
Budapest, with its classic central European architecture and a faded grandeur that is strikingly similar to pre-war Sarajevo, was a natural choice. Hungary’s excellent movie-making infrastructure provided Jolie with another good reason to base the production here.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt certainly turned heads when they came to Budapest to make this movie and the city clearly made an impression on them too. Barely a year later they were back, renting an apartment while husband Brad was shooting his latest futuristic action movie in the city.
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Photo | Dezidor