Serbian, Bosnian romance falls foul of Balkans politics

Angelina Jolie’s debut movie as a director-scribe — a cross-cultural romance that is filming in Hungary — has run up against Balkan politics.

Jolie planned to wrap shooting on the yet-to-be-named love story between a Serbian man and Bosnian woman, set during the bloody civil war in the former-Yugoslavia in the early ’90s, next month in Bosnia.

But Bosnia’s culture minister, Gavrilo Grahovac, has canceled the shooting permit because, he said, no script was attached to the request to film.

Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, endured a murderous three-year siege by Serb forces during the civil war, and the film appears to have fallen foul of ethnic wounds unhealed 15 years after the war’s end.

Last week, the pic came under fire from an org called Women Victims of War, which claimed there were historical inaccuracies in the film.

“In the film, a victim is really falling in love with her torturer,” Bakira Hasecic, prexy of Women Victims of War, told Bosnian daily paper Oslobodjenje.

Jolie has offered to meet Hasecic to reassure her that the film does not offend victims of the war.

On Thursday, Jolie said, “Obviously any dramatic interpretation will always fail those who have had a real experience. This is not a documentary. There are many twists in the plot that address the sensitive nature of the relationship between the main characters, and that will be revealed once the film is released.

“My hope is that people will hold judgment until they have seen the film.”

Jolie is producing the pic with GK Films’ Graham King and King’s business partner, Tim Headington.

In a statement, GK Film said, “As a purely technical matter, we are obliged to reapply for the permit to shoot with the appropriate government offices in Sarajevo now that the final script is available.

“The stories about the film which have recently been circulated are incorrect. The dedication and commitment of the cast and crew from all over the former Yugoslavia demonstrates the integrity of this project.”

Sarajevo’s Scout Film, the production company handling locations, said a copy of the script had been given to the culture ministry. He hoped approval for filming would follow shortly.

Few films are made in Bosnia, and an international project of this size and status has not been seen since the days when Yugoslavia was a major location for movies that included Sam Peckinpah’s 1977 war pic “Cross of Iron.”

(Wire services contributed to this report.)

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