Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Angelina's Bosnian Adventure

Angelina Jolie is being hoisted with her own petard. Having decided to make her directorial debut a love story set in the Bosnian War, she is now being besieged by professional war victims, who want input on the script, money, or both. Just yesterday, one of these "victim associations" petitioned the UN to revoke Jolie's status as "Goodwill Ambassador", since the plot of the film is causing them "mental suffering."

How now? Rumors of the film's plot have been circulating for months, and the most persistent is that it involves a love affair between a Muslim inmate in a Serb "concentration camp" and her Serb guard. Eventually, it is said, the Serb kills the Muslim and surrenders to peacekeepers as a war criminal. However, one version of the story is that this is a "rape camp", and that the love affair is between a victim and her rapist - something Jolie and her crew have vehemently denied. It is important to note that these are all rumors - neither the professional victims nor the government officials who banned Jolie from filming in the country (the film is being shot in Hungary instead) have actually read the script. I don't think it would have made a difference, though.

I am reasonably sure that Jolie is motivated by her own bleeding-heart feelings towards the "women victims of war," and therefore cannot understand how they ended up being her worst enemy. This is because she is ignorant of what actually happened in Bosnia, and doesn't know a damned thing about the people living there.

There's a whole sub-genre in modern cinematography that has been termed "Chetnixploitation" (from "Chetniks" - a Serbian word for guerrillas, used as an insult by Muslims and Croats). It relies on prejudices and stereotypes created by the Communist propaganda since 1945, then distilled and recycled in the 1990s wars, to portray the Serbs as drunken, bearded, bloodthirsty butchers of innocents. (For some examples, look at the blog linked above and an essay I wrote back in 2002.) Any film made about the Balkans wars is expected to fit into the genre - and if it doesn't, expect professional victims to complain about it.

Jolie's film does fit, however. Her cast and crew have repeatedly said it would be a story of Serbs abusing Muslims. Back in July, a Serbian media magnate made public that he refused to work with Jolie on the project, because it was "disgusting" and "Serb-bashing." So why are the Muslims targeting Jolie, then?

One of the reasons is money. What the "Association of women victims" is doing is pure extortion. Ironically, it is Jolie's own bleeding-heart humanitarianism that is preventing her from doing what is expected under the circumstances: pay them off so they shut up. She sympathizes with the "victims" so much, the idea they would be extorting her is inconceivable.

There could also be a fear that Jolie's highlighting of the Bosnian rapes may actually draw unwanted attention to the allegation - never documented or substantiated in any way - that the Serbs engaged in systematic mass rape of Muslim women, as a weapon of war. This propaganda concoction has been widely accepted, and any attempt to question its veracity or even ask for elementary evidence would run into condemnations of "defending rape" and "violence towards women." The very last thing professional war profiteers want is for someone to actually look into the factual background of their sacred cow.

Last, but probably most important, is the mentality of the people Jolie is dealing with. As many other foreigners have discovered over the past two decades, it isn't enough to support the Muslims (or Croats, or Albanians) 99.9% of the time. Oh no, even that .01 percent of criticism of anything they've done is enough to disqualify one as a "Greater Serbian propagandist" and "apologist for aggression and genocide." Only total, unconditional submission to their vision of the truth - a difficult thing to do, seeing as how that changes with circumstances, mind you - is tolerated. Even then, don't expect any gratitude for doing so.

I don't imagine Jolie had any idea trying to make a pro-Muslim movie would end up being so frustrating. She's not alone. In his memoirs, Richard Holbrooke recounted this scene from the final days of the Dayton talks:

"Chris Hill, normally highly supportive of the Bosnians, exploded in momentary anger and frustration. ‘These people are impossible to help,’ he said. It was a telling statement from a man who had devoted years of his life to the search for ways to help create a Bosnian state."
Now, I doubt Jolie would have canceled her project if someone had got in touch with her and explained all this. This kind of behavior is so utterly irrational, it beggars belief - until one is forced to actually contend with it. But I wonder if she would have scrapped her plans had someone told her that in 2004, the Sarajevo-born Serbian director Emir Kusturica filmed "Life is a Miracle," a love story between a Serb soldier and his Muslim captive. Kusturica's film wasn't a politically correct piece of Chetnixploitation, so few in the West have heard of it. Yet even a passing acquaintance with it would have saved Jolie a lot of trouble.


Mark Johnson said...

I am well used to WW2 films through my job. And I am sick of them. You name it, I've seen it. There's only so many times I can be told that holocausts are bad, Hitler was bad and that war is terrible before I start throwing chairs.

I can only imagine what the Serbs in the cinemas of Sarajevo are wanting to throw by now.

Each other?

CubuCoko said...

Heh. It would be so, save for two facts. There are hardly any Serbs left in Sarajevo, and there are hardly any cinemas, as well. But your point is well taken.

jack said...

@Gray Falcon

They like to show homemade Iraq war movies.

(I would have posted the old Bosnian Jihad Cinema article that was on Serbianna website but is seems to have been removed.)

Alex from Australia said...

What I would like to know about these "rape victims" is where are the kids born from those alleged incidences ? They claim they were held captive and repeatedly raped over a certain period of time. Did the Serbs wear condoms in the battle field/rape camps or perform abortions on them after they raped them ? I ask this because I have never seen any kids or any other evidence from all the victims that gave interviews and spouted their accusations. And there are too many "victims" and too little evidence.

Ray said...

Adventure? More like nightmare. Still, I have no sympathy for the braindead artsy types. They picked their side long ago.

Unknown said...

Here you have Jolie depicting Serbs as the evil-doers, the warmongers, the rapists, and continuing the cycle of demonizing the Serbs. Why aren't the Muslims thankful? As Nebojsa puts it, they want "unconditional submission". They still live in this delusional dimension along with the rest of the "victims" of Yugoslavia who feel entitled to everything. Every demand must be met...or else! But who's fault is it now that there is so much violence going on in (their half of) Bosnia? A quote from Bozinovich's blog: "Bosnian Muslim town of Tuzla is convulsing in a grip of violence and rape after several young females have been ganged raped by multitude of Muslims." The war ended 16 years ago but I bet somehow they'll find a way to blame the Serbs! Remember when the Albanians wouldn't sign in Rambouillet, Albright almost lost her marbles!
MA: "Sign and we bomb them."
KLA: "No!"
MA: "What are you deaf? I said sign and we BOMB them!!"
MA: "You better sign this or we'll bomb you, capish?!?!"
KLA: "Eh okay, maybe we sign."

It's still so ridiculous!

Pedja said...

Demonization of the Serbs do not start with Holbrooke nor will end with him.
True friend's...

Bill Clinton said that the Serbia is guilty of WWII

Germany strikes back


1389 said...

Angelina Jolie is, for all intents and purposes, just another media whore.

Just for starters, I take a dim view of anybody who makes a play for somebody else's mate. That just isn't right.

Besides that, the very sight of collagen lips (and all other forms of artificial enhancement) make me want to vomit.