ANGELINA JOLIE said yesterday she would like to meet with wartime rape victims and clarify misunderstandings that have led authorities in Sarajevo to deny her a permit to shoot her directorial film debut in Bosnia.
“My hope is that people will hold judgment until they have seen the film,” the Hollywood actress said in a statement.
Bosnian authorities have denied Jolie a permit to shoot her film amid protests by rape victims who object to its alleged subject matter.
The film – a wartime love story between a Bosnian woman and a Serbian man – was supposed to be shot partly in Bosnia in November. However, Jolie’s producer says rumours spread that the film was about a rape victim who falls in love with her rapist.
Jolie’s Sarajevo producer, Edin Sarkic, said yesterday the rumours were not true. He said he has resubmitted the application and sent the film’s full script to Sarajevo’s culture minister and expects to get a permit.
Culture Minister Gavrilo Grahovac revoked the original permit this week under pressure from the Association of Women, Victims of War that represents the several thousand mainly Muslim Bosnian women who were raped during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war.
The head of the association, Bakira Hasecic, told The Associated Press that she has not read the script but “from what I heard, it is about a victim in a rape camp falling in love with her rapist, and that’s not only impossible but the idea is insulting”.
“We, the victims, do not want to be portrayed that way and we complained,” she said.
In the immediate aftermath of the war, the issue of mass rape of women during the conflict was a taboo topic in Bosnia. But the victims then came forward and formed an association that fights for their rights in the courts and defends their dignity in public. The lobby has grown so strong that rarely any official in Bosnia dares to confront it.
Edin Sarkic – who runs Scout Film, the Sarajevo-based production company that co-operates with Jolie on the project – told the AP that he was not going to reveal what was in Jolie’s script. But Sarkic said he has given it to Grahovac and believes he will get the permit back in a few days after Grahovac realises the story line does not offend the victims.
In her statement, Jolie said it would be a shame if “unfair pressure based on wrong information” prevents her crew from shooting in Bosnia.
“The choice to make a film about this area and set in this time in history was also to remind people of what happened not so long ago and to give attention to the survivors of the war,” she said.
Jolie said she has great respect for the work of the Association of Women, Victims of War and would “like the opportunity to speak with them to personally clear up any misunderstandings about this project.”
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