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by Peter Knegt
February 11, 2012 1:41 PM
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Angelina Jolie in Berlin: "You Find Different Ways To Make Things Matter"

Angelina Jolie in Berlin.
"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."

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6 Comments

  • Barry | February 12, 2012 2:59 PMReply

    I was a bit set aback reading the mean spirited comments. No film captures every aspect of a conflict or issue. This is a film narrative of a vision created by AJ that should be judged as a film, not by some standard of all encompassing journalism. I would be interested to see what the films created by those with such critical comment amount to, or maybe they comment and don't create.

  • Hobart Czmonkiewitz | February 12, 2012 8:08 PM

    Barry, you really don't need to be in the entertainment industry to comment on a movie - just as you don't really need to be a movie star to adopt a child. You just don't get the media attention nor the political leverage for it - and they don't call you a "humanitarian", they just call you - a "parent". You can still raise that child fine, and be no less of a person, can't you? Re: the film narrative - I suggest you first watch the film before you talk about it; it falls apart at the seams, and the story just doesn't add up.

  • Max Nerro | February 12, 2012 3:35 AMReply

    It is really sad to see that even someone who was known for her humanitarian work is now trying to capitalise on a one sided story of Bosnian war. This cliche of Serbs beeing the ONLY bad guys in the world is really old and not interesting anymore. Honestly I'm surprised that she didn't use any "nuclear bomb material" and a super vilain in the movie, because then we might say it's a pulp movie and let it pass. Mrs. Jolie REALLY needs to get more, WAY MORE, RESEARCH for her next movie, and that reasearch should be about the things that REALLY MATTER for the story. These cheap one sided war love stories don't even fly in US let alone in Europe.

  • Hobart Czmonkiewitz | February 12, 2012 2:21 AMReply

    This reminds me of Hillary Clinton's run for the President of the USA - a lot of talking about important things without really understanding what the things are all about. In other words - politics as usual. Talking about the balance - this film is so one sided that it drowns in its own liberal propaganda, it's barely watchable. Use those Serbs as ultimate Hollywood villains for one more time - what else is new. No one remembers anything anymore about raped and killed Serbian women by the Muslim mujaheddins, during that same war, so Angelina decides it's not even worth mentioning it. Mrs. Jolie is obviously in denial about any balance here, but let the audience be the judge. In the US this just wouldn't fly in the theaters, despite all the political hoopla . A bad and naive student movie with a good budget. It's like Frankenstein - a lot of effort and money to make a dead thing alive. Ultimately it just doesn't work. But hey, maybe you should run for the President of the US, what do you say, Mrs. Jolie? You certainly have more talent for politics than you have for filmmaking, that's for sure.

  • Jamie Dakis | February 12, 2012 12:43 AMReply

    Hello Angelina, I have yet to see ANY movie with you that: "don't quite matter" . Perhaps this reporter is too unfamiliar with the film industry over all and the great success of your
    career to ask such a question.

    Your action movies are a continuation of many of the females that have broken and planted seeds in the ground of Hollywood, breaking the stereotyped actress roles of sheer beauty and no guts and glory other than emotionality.
    I suggest perhaps, this journalist/reporter go investigate the psychology of Hollywood films that actually do matter. That is observe not only monetary gain bu the overall impact on the female, male, and family audiences throughout America.
    I, for one think it matters a lot when a woman defends herself whether fictionalized or not.
    Additionally, having been a survivor myself, I do agree that there is a certain responsibility to show rather than tell of the true horrors of war, love, as well as hate, and violence. Today's world is too accustomed to their suspensions of disbelief and escape into fantastical and unrealistic views of the world at large including but not limited to war.
    I wish you great success in you future endevour with a Disney Movie!

    Children of the world need to also capture the things that matter around them with your kind and meaningful ideas of balance.

    Walt Disney said it best: "We try it in everything we do here, you know...for the family. We don't actually make films for children. But we make films that children can enjoy along with their parents." Pg. 150 on Family, The Quotable Walt Disney. www.disneyeditions.com
    May you and yours be well and happy regardless of the stats. I am proud of both of you!

  • dawne | February 11, 2012 8:17 PMReply

    i am sorry this film was missed in upstate new york theatres. cant WAIT to see this work from ms. jolie who is 'the' consummate artist heradling a generation of young women into the 21st century. thank you ms. jolie for always giving YOUR best...activism, motherhood, wife, artiste...