"You mean my action movies," Angelina Jolie said when a journalist at the Berlin International Film Festival asked if it would be difficult to go back to making films that "don't quite matter" after working on her directorial debut "In The Land of Blood Honey." "You know, you find different ways to make things matter. For example, certain fun action movies are still empowering for my daughters and things like that. But yes, it will be hard. I haven't acted for two years and I haven't done anything since this."
A love story set during the Bosnian war, "In The Land of Blood and Honey" has essentially come and gone from America — grossing just over $250,000 though finding generally respectable reviews — but the Berlinale represents the film's European premiere. Jolie's star power meant hundreds of locals lined up outside the film's press conference Saturday attempting to get a peek; even journalists inside the conference seemed nervous when it came time to ask her a question.
"I do the best I can," Jolie responded. "I think as we grow older and the more we learn about the world, the more we realize we don't know. So we try and educate ourselves. And I've done the best I could to educate myself on different conflicts and post-conflict situations… This is not a documentary. This is an artistic interpretation. I tried to bring as much as I could but there are many different sides to war. And I hope there are more and more films made about this war that show all different sides… But we did the best we could with ours."
Jolie noted that she's traveled for over 10 years and there are certain conflicts that have really "pulled at her heart."
"I've been compelled to speak about them because they matter to me, and I'm very grateful that I've had the opportunity for moments like this where I can speak to all of you and speak about things that really matter to me," she said. "I've been blessed with that, and I'm trying to do the best I can do. That's all I can do."
One question arose regarding the film's violence, asking Jolie whether the fact that she has six children made her ambivalent about including scenes of violence against children.
"There's always a question when you do films about war," she responded. "How much do you need to show? What you should show? I think everybody who lived through this war knows that what you see on film is a small piece of how horrible it actually was. There is no film that could create the true horrors of war. But we do have a responsibility to show that it is truly horrible. It should be hard to watch. It should linger. Because that's the reality. I'm somebody who if I see a war film that's easy to watch I feel uncomfortable."
Jolie said the biggest challenge of the project was simply trying to find a balance.
"The politics of this region and the complications and the sensitivity to the situation is quite extreme," she said. "But I wanted to tell this story because I was 17 when this war started and like most people around the world — certainly most people in America — we know we little about this war."
Jolie said she initially had no intention of turning her script into a film.
"I wrote this never imagining that I would make a film," she said. "I wrote this because I wanted to learn about what happened. And the more I read and the more I was educated the more moved I was by the situation and the more I wanted to express it."
So what's next for Jolie? She said she's looking at doing a Disney movie because she "just has to just find that balance."
"It's been so wonderful to be part of a project that really does matter so much to me," she said. "It's the first thing I've ever written. Of all the films I've ever made it's the one that means the most to me and is the most true to what I believe and closest to my heart. So it will be very, very hard to move on."