Saturday, December 17, 2011

Boycott Is The Real Name of Angelina Jolie's New Movie

source: politika.rs

I will not watch Angelina Jolie’s new movie. I won’t even name it. I know what it’s about. She has said it’s a love story about a Bosnian Muslim woman in love with a commander of a Bosnian Serb concentration, and, err, rape camp. He kills her in the end. It’s fictional, it’s Hollywood, it is not based in truth, and it’s a product of someone’s imagination. I really do not appreciate imagination that puts my people in a negative spotlight and I won’t pay to see it. Nor should you, nor should any self-respecting Serb or a friend of Serbs.
It’s not important to discuss the movie itself or the motivation behind making it. It’s not even about Jolie, who just tried to erase her cheap Tomb Raider legacy and thought directing a movie would reflect more sophistication on her part than just playing in movies. I won’t dwell on Angelina. She’s making money, more power to her. The question is, whose money will she be lining her pockets with?  Clearly, this movie is anti-Serbian as it depicts a situation that presents Serbs as mass rapists. Enough said. I won’t give my money to someone who deliberately vilifies my people. Yes, it’s Hollywood, it’s fiction, it projects a negative image of Serbs onto people that come to see it for popcorn and Coke and do not really care nor will their opinion matter. In fact, nothing will change in the Western view of Serbs because of this movie. Most Americans, after Serbs spent an entire recent decade in global spotlight as bad guys, would ask me after finding out my ethnic origin: “Oh, it’s very cold there, right?” confusing Serbia with Siberia. That’s all I have to say about that, as a favorite movie character would say to close a subject.
It is important how Serbs will view this movie and in fact, whether they will view it at all. Viewing it, unless you download a pirated version, would mean giving money to the people that thus vilified the Serbian nation. Any informed and non-self-hating Serb knows the portrayal of Bosnian Serbs as mass rapists and genocidal murderers is disgustingly false. Any informed and objective non-Serb knows this as well as evidence against such notions is overwhelming and clear. I won’t sit here and compound that knowledge by repeating oft cited investigative results of all sorts. What I may cite won’t enlighten you if your mind wasn’t open enough already to make an effort and consult legitimate resources before accepting a Hollywood-projected image. This being said, you should save yourself time and stop reading here if you are a serbophobe. If you accept the facts and you recognize the injustice done to pan-Serbian reputation by the carriers of anti-Serb propaganda, you will not pay Angelina Jolie to see her movie.
It’s your money – it’s nothing to me, but it does hurt to know that a Serb or a friend of Serbs would support the continued vilification monetarily. Yes, if you pay your movie ticket you are supporting the entire production and distribution chain that demonizes the Serbian people. Of course, you can see it and criticize it and no one will care, no one will hear your voice, the movie will not be cancelled. The only way to actually inflict damage on such anti-Serb orchestrations is to keep them from making money. Its primary objective is to make money. A possibility that Angelina has already been paid handsomely by moneyed Islamic fundamentalist interests that are fighting their own war in the Southeast Europe is not out of question, but these are smart people that prefer to invest in real propaganda and in building a mosque at every mile from Tuzla to Zvornik.
Back to you paying for anti-Serb demonization… Yes, the eleven dollars you will leave at the box office is nothing to you, but you nevertheless paid someone to vilify Serbs. If for nothing else, you should abstain from paying for the movie to ensure peace of your consciousness. We can’t lead our lives in a Western country thinking every day of how to avoid contributing to its anti-Serb efforts. Quite honestly, it is a mission impossible, as we at least have to pay taxes that are spent on financing the robbery of Serbian lands. All we can do is leave, and many in Serbian diaspora see that as a non-option. But here, in this specific case, we can definitely refuse to give our contribution to anti-Serb propaganda. Think of all the honest, brave Serbs who heroically fought to carve a state that would give them freedom and protection from the onslaught of the ideology that left them with a blood-stained memory in the World War II. Think of all the orphaned Serb children in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo whose stories won’t find themselves in front of Angelina Jolie’s camera lens. Think of all the destroyed Serb homes, families, holy places, all the horror stories that no Hollywood scenario will ever capture. If Jolie wanted to relay Bosnian trauma to her audience through a real inter-ethnic love story, why didn’t she base her scenario in one? There were plenty, but none of them would leave viewers with the impression of Serbs as rapists and murderers, so none was good enough for her.
Bosnia was a multi-ethnic society before the war, unlike now, in which men and women of all three religions mixed into love relationships and marriages. Plenty of tragic love stories were written in this war-torn place, well worthy of a Hollywood movie, but Jolie used tragic love as a red herring to vilify Serbs. I get it: the negative Western public opinion of Serbs has been malnourished in recent years, while the truth has been slowly seeping through in the form of forensic reports, witness accounts, court testimonies, books and documentaries. The world had to be reminded that Serbs were evil-doers because the viability of the Bosnian quazi-state hangs on refreshing this notion constantly. Jolie was enlisted in the service of this enterprise, maybe even played for a fool, but it shouldn’t matter to us. The seriousness of the effort and the specific nature of the movie’s content place her among Serbian enemies regardless of the fact that the movie won’t have its intended effect. All self-respecting Serbs and Serbian friends should boycott this movie and perhaps all of her future creations. I won’t go into who else we should boycott in relation to this matter, because Angelina Jolie is the face of this creation and it is her name recognition that gives marketing weight to the movie. She is the pitchperson and it is her movie. If you want to go down the chain, do your research and have at it.
It’s time Serbs show solidarity and focus, recognize and refuse to reward their enemies and hit back where it hurts the most – the wallet. Even if you think that your eleven dollars withheld make no difference and even if you doubt that the refusal of all Serbs and Serbian friends to pay Angelina will significantly cut into her profits, think again and do the math. Finally, forget the money aspect and do it out of pride. 




7 comments:

Ana Mitric said...

This is a very interesting piece, which I intend to forward to my friends & family. I've never been a fan of Angelina Jolie (for completely unrelated reasons) and avoid her films unless I feel I really can't--e.g., unless they are contenders for the best picture Oscar. As a proud Serbian-American, I'm also inclined to share your opinion of such matters. But I do have a few questions about your views in this case (and the boycott proposal based on them).

Most importantly, have you seen the film in its entirety? (It hasn't been released where I live, so this isn't an option for me.) If not, can you be sure that the portrait of Serbs (or the war) is as black/ white as you suggest? I have absolutely no idea, of course. However (and this is my second question), I wonder if it might offer a more complicated depiction of the wars--and interpersonal relations shaped by them--than you're expecting? I have one simple reason for asking: the number of ethnic Serbian actors connected with the film. Not only is Rade Šerbedžija the best-known actor in the movie but there are also other ethnic Serbs among the cast--including the male lead, Goran Kostić. RS, who was apparently extremely reluctant to join the cast when he first heard the idea for the film, has observed, "For almost two months already I have been in contact with Angelina Jolie. She tried to contact me via my agents and they told her that I am not acting in movies on war in former Yugoslavia. I rejected all offers because scenarios were mainly poor and one-sided. When she was told why I had rejected her offer, Angelina contacted me by phone and asked me to read the scenario. The text is fantastic." This, I think, should mean something--if not everything--to the Serbian diaspora (I tend not to take anyone's word for anything!).

Just so we're clear: I found my way to your blog after reading your comments on the problematic post linked by Wertheim of Sports Illustrated last week--and I basically agree with everything you're saying. In fact, my response to reading a key line of yours (“Yes, might makes right - that's how the Albanians made it to be the majority in Kosovo and Metohia. Yes, the might of NATO bombs cleared the way for Albanians to gloat over their ownership of the land”) was "Touché!" You may also have seen my response to Wertheim, which he linked to his column on Djokovic, politics, & sports this week: http://tinyurl.com/cas3zlk
Still, I'd like to withhold judgment on this one until I've, at minimum, read a thorough review by a film critic. Whether I see the movie after that or not... who knows? There's only so much time I can spend thinking back to the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s without becoming deeply depressed and hopeless for humanity.

With respect,
Ana

Srbo said...

Ana,
Of course I've read your response to the SI debate on Novak. I actually read the entire piece and I enjoyed your style immensely:) I agreed with everything you said, but not being as diplomatic or as eloquent as you were I figured that bluntness was the only appropriate way to address people that stooped so low to attack a young man who's been nothing but a model of sportsmanship just because they didn't like his patriotism.
On to Angie... I haven't seen the movie and I relied on several reviews, mainly on the one written by William Dorich on his blog. (You can read it here: http://dijaspora.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/by-angelina-jolie/)
I look at this in a pretty simplistic way: Bosnian Serbs, of which I am one, are portrayed as maniacal killers and mass rapists. I don't intend to go into the ostensible complexities of the relationship between good and evil, love and hatred, also displayed - I've seen way too many attempts to disguise clear defamation of Serbs within such artistic processes. It all boils down to seeing them for they are. If Hollywood has done a halfway decent effort at a balanced approach to all sides in the Wars of Yugoslav Succession, I'd abstain from singling out creations that target Serbs as the bad guys. If I could recognize that art, emotional complexities of a war drama or even calling attention to human rights abuses have been the main motivation for this film, I'd give it a fair shake. But I'm taking it at a face value. The checklist of disqualifying factors is quite short. I hear the word "genocide" and it's clear to me who the bad guys are supposed to be. How many more creations such as this one should we give a fair shake to? How many times should we criticize them and repeat facts that Hollywood doesn't even pretend to care about? Can't we just express disgust and refuse to acknowledge a need to rectify the perceived injustice?
I see your point about Serb actors playing significant parts in the movie. I'm not very familiar with Kostic's career, but Serbedzija, although an ethnic Serb, doesn't impress me as a model Serb patriot who would definitely refuse to participate in an anti-Serb enterprise. There were Serbs in Belgrade that invited NATO bombs in 1999 and while I'm not equating Serbedzija, Kostic or Djuricko with Srdja Popovic, I wouldn't reconsider my stand purely on the fact that some Serbs happened to take part in this production for money and/or exposure. This leaves the story line and the characterization of Serbs unchanged.
I'm talking to my friends and one by one they are promising they won't pay to see the movie. We have to understand that the distribution will heavily rely on the audience emotionally invested in this subject and Serbs are such audience. If only 100,000 Serbs in English-speaking countries who are relied on to see the movie refuse to pay for it, it's a million dollar loss. Not that this would hurt Angie significantly, but it would send a clear message that Serbs are unified in their refusal to drink any more Kool-Aid.
I hope I was able to address some of your considerations and I hope you will support the action. Here's a review for you: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/land-blood-honey-review-angelina-jolie-274786
Sincere thanks for your feedback.

Anonymous said...

Ana has touched upon the main problem behind this horrendous propaganda garbage and that is the participation of ethnic Serb actors, which in a way legitimizes the story and therefore the project’s main purpose. All I can say is that I plead to all people of good will to boycott this movie and all the future projects of actors like Sherbedzija or Kostic.

As a Serb who was born and raised in Sarajevo and who barely survived that tragic war, this movie only ads more insults to injury that will most likely never heal. I am looking at Ms. Jolie on this photo, shaking hands with one of the most bloodthirsty Bosnian war criminals – Haris Silajdzic, and I cannot help but wonder… Is it possible that someone like Angelina Jolie, for whose charity work I had so much respect, never did any research on the subject? That she went with the "official version" of the events? I never expected a well-balanced anti-war movie from Hollywood but I expected more from Ms. Jolie, thinking that she understood the depths of human suffering. Thinking that she does not discriminate between the victims, regardless of their names, race or creed. Instead of sending a message of hope, the movie deeply insulted all the innocent Serbian victims in Sarajevo, completely omitting their existence. My hearth goes to all the innocent victims of that tragic war. I ask nothing more than some sympathy for innocent Serbs that perished. I have seen the young Serbian girls, victims of massive rapes conducted by Bosnian criminals in my hometown. I have watched the faces of crushed parents after a Bosnian sniper killed their six years old child on Grbavica just because that child had a Serbian name. And I can only imagine how do they feel about Jolie, Sherbedzija or Kostic today.

This movie is not about popcorn and ignorant audience Ms. Jolie, remember that, and shame on you! This disgrace of a movie accomplished a lot more, went far beyond the painful insults of the ignored victims. With its oversimplified "blame the Serbs" rhetoric "The Land of Hollywood Bullshit" planted another round of evil seeds in already hopelessly contaminated Bosnian soil. More poison injected into the numerous wounds of Bosnian society, which were never able to heal because of the profit-driven, one-sided approach of the West. One should look no further for the proof of that terribly wrong approach than the fact that Silajdzic was not arrested and sentenced for all the evil deeds he has committed over the years. Instead, he is smiling for the cameras with Angie. Nice, the hatred wins again…

Ps. If, by any chance, you Ms. Jolie, or you Mr. Sherbedzija, or you Mr. Kostic, reed these lines and, in your selfishness, believe that I went too far, that you (or this movie) are not that bad, think again….AND SHAME ON YOU! AGAIN!

With hope that this Christmas will bring more peace, love and understanding among the people of the Balkans and the world.

Max
New York

Anonymous said...

I agree that no self-respecting Serb should see this movie. Angelina Jolie has shown, through much of her work, that she is an "eager beaver" about making a difference in the world. Too bad there is no significant intellect backing up her efforts. It's one thing to use stardom to provide a purpose to one's life, and quite another to actually do so for the benefit of the cause and individuals involved. Unfortunately, Angelina is much more concerned about herself than she is about the subjects she chooses to address. Having lived in the States for most of my life (more than 35 years now), I see how celebrity appeals to Americans and drives their behavior. They want to look like celebrities, act like celebrities, dress like celebrities, and in general emulate the celebrities in every way possible. Having Angelina's name on this movie is bad enough, but having her name on the script is worse, because presumably then she has been involved in the cause at hand, has done significant research, and has had good advisors along the way; it gives the topic and the movie astonishing credibility. Young people who not only don't know where Serbia is, but are also too young to even remember the details of the Balkan wars, those who get their news on social media, will view this not as fiction, not as the figment or vain hope of a celebrity to ensure her credibility, but as actual news and a recounting of history. The damage will be done either way, and shame on Angelina for taking sides in such a serious and sad conflict. One has to admire her need and wish to change the world, but it seems that she herself does not understand just how much she can also damage it by carelessly condemning millions of people due to her ignorance. If she is being used to this end, and no doubt somewhere along the way she is....since there is substantial history of American "eager beavers" being used for ulterior motives...Jane Fonda, enough said....she has managed to destroy the very work she is purportedly attempting to contribute to humanity. So sad.

Srbo said...

Great comments...
These "humanitarians" are like mercenaries. They make up their mind about what they want to represent, create and project an image and then let themselves be hired out by any cause that helps nurture that image. They have to keep themselves in the spotlight - that's the primary goal. Humanitarianism comes distant second and comes as a vehicle only. That's the kind of "eager beaver" she is. However, I don't see this being about her. It is indeed about Serbian self-respect. This movie is fiction the Hollywood audience - all of 90,000 in the first 18 days of showing - will swallow like any fiction. It is important for Serbs to make a statement, send a message of sorts. Jolie doesn't owe us anything, she doesn't owe any honesty or scruples to the world. She is in the business of making money. She's all glitter of Hollywood, no matter how many kids she adopts. Respect her or not, we have to start respecting ourselves.

Meezer said...

Jolie's movie will bomb at the box office because the script stinks.

If I were to do a movie about the Wars of Yugoslav Succession I would have a much better script. It would clear show a truly multi-ethnic coalition fighting an evil fascist regime bent on ethnic cleansing & murder.

One of the main characters would be a Bosnian Muslim, Fikret Abdic, leader of the "AP ZAPADNA BOSNA"

One of the scenes in the movie would be from June 10, 1994 in Velika Kladusa. It would show murders, rapes, terror, etc., committed by the attackers. And who were these attackers committing all these atrocities?????

Srbo said...

Would you also include the Operation Pauk (Spider) in the plot?
Gray Falcon has an interesting thought or two about the movie bombing in the box office (http://grayfalcon.blogspot.com/2012/01/war-porn.html), although I didn't think anyone expected this kind of debacle.