Female victims of the Balkan war have penned an angry open letter to Angelina Jolie regarding her movie “Untitled Bosnian Love Story,” in the English language newspaper The Balkan Chronicle. Angie’s directorial debut is a taboo love tale about a Serbian man and a Bosnian woman during the war that took place between 1992 and 1995. It is currently being filming in Hungary. But rumors have circulated that the characters aren’t just a Serb and a Bosnian, but a Serbian rapist and his Muslim victim. Although Angelina, her producer and even a local Sarajevo actor have all steadfastly denied that plot line (the producer called it “insane”), the Association of Women Victims of War’s open letter accuses her of trying to “falsify the historic truth about the crimes of mass gang rapes of Bosnian women.”
The letter reads:
“We understand ["Untitled Love Story"] will be based upon a “loving surrender” of Bosnian women to their rapists and representatives of a country which planned, directed and commanded the execution of all of the crimes committed, including the crimes of sexual abuse which was to serve as a means of denationalizing and dehumanizing the victims. … It would be as if you were trying to make a movie using the same screenplay and instead of a Serbian male have a Taliban one, and instead of a Bosnian woman an American one.”
The Association of Women Victims of War sent their letter on October 25 and Angelina responded quickly by November 1. She told the women she is “deeply sensitive to the suffering experienced by the members of your associations and I would never trivialize what they went through.” After accusing the media of spreading misinformation about the flick, she offered to meet with them on her next visit to Sarajevo in November. “I hope that the meeting will allow us to clarify any understandings concerning the film that you may have as a result of the misinformation carried by the media,” she wrote.
While I believe Angelina handled their complaint well, the spread of misinformation is partially her fault: Her application for a filming permit in Bosnia was rejected because it was not submitted with a script, as required by law. Is building mystique around the film and fanning buzz about it really worth this upsetting misinformation being spread? She knows better than anybody how the media works. When Angelina’s handling such a sensitive subject that’s very much a part of recent history, assuring her real-life subjects that she will handle their story with dignity should be a priority.